European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS)
The EMCS is an ESA gravitational biology payload and installed inside an Express rack within the US Destiny laboratory.
EMCS is dedicated to experiments on plants, especially multi-generation (seed-to-seed) experiments and studies gravity effects on early development and growth, on signal perception and transduction in plant tropisms. Experiments with insects or amphibia as well as studies with cell and tissue cultures are conducted in EMCS.
EMCS consists of a gas tight incubator containing two centrifuges with space for 4 Experiment Containers on each rotor; also the life support and water supply system, the illumination and the observation system are located on the rotors. External to the incubator are the Standard Payload Computer (SPLC), the gas supply module and the thermal control system.
- Long term growth stability in plants including multi-generation studies (seed to seed)
- Early development events in plants
- Gravity influence on early development and growth (g-level threshold research)
- Perception and signal transduction in plant tropism
- Possibility for research on small animals, tissues and cell cultures, also on radiation effects.
The incubator provides a gas tight, thermally controlled environment to the Experiment Containers (EC’s). The gas atmosphere is common to all 8 EC’s and is composed of an air mixture of 30% oxygen and 70% nitrogen and carbon dioxide, stored in gas bottles, and of pure nitrogen, originating from the Space Station.
- Internal Volume: 60 x 60 x 160 mm
- Transparent cover for illumination and observation
- Sensors for temperature, humidity and pressure
- Supplied with controlled atmosphere and water
- Single shot valves to isolate container during fixation
- Connected to power and data handling system for monitoring and control of experiment dedicated instrumentation.
- Two analogue channels for experiment data
- Four digital in/out channels for experiment data
- One RS485 bus for experiment data and commands
- Analogue NTSC video line for 2 of the 4 containers per rotor
- Two identical rotors, both with programmable rotational speed, providing 0.001 g to 2.0 g or microgravity when not rotating
- Diameter 600 mm
- Four Experiment Containers on each rotor, long axis (160mm) in radial orientation
- Humidity controlled individually for each experiment container
- Central reservoir for fresh and waste water (250 ml)
- Common illumination (white light or infrared) for all containers
- One array of light emitting diodes per container (100 W/m2)
- Infrared illumination for 'dark' observation (>880 nm)
- One video camera for 2 EC’s each, one video signal at a time transmitted per rotor
- Video camera with 5x zoom, resolution <0.1 mm
- Video frame grabber and text insertion
Atmosphere and temperature
Common atmosphere provided to all containers:
- Oxygen 15 - 22%, +/- 0.5%
- Carbon dioxide 0 - 0.2% (+/- 0.01%) or 0.2 - 5.5% (+/- 0.3%)
- Nitrogen difference up to 100%
- Ethylene removal
- Air flow ~300 ml/min at EC inlet
- Pressure inside EC 60 hPa above ambient
Humidity control selectable for each container:
- 50-95% relative humidity, 30% in drying mode
- Temperature controlled in the range 18 to 40°C, +/- 0.5°C
The European Modular Cultivation System was launched to the ISS on the STS-121 mission in July 2006. EMCS is developed under an ESA contract by an industrial team led by Astrium in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The scientific utilisation of the EMCS is carried out in cooperation with the NASA Ames Research Center.
Last update: 13 May 2009