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Development of Two Color Fluorescent Imager and Integrated Fluidic System for Nanosatellite Biology ApplicationsNanosatellites offer frequent, low-cost space access as secondary payloads on launches of larger conventional satellites. We summarize the payload science and technology of the Microsatellite in-situ Space Technologies (MisST) nanosatellite for conducting automated biological experiments. The payload (two fused 10-cm cubes) includes 1) an integrated fluidics system that maintains organism viability and supports growth and 2) a fixed-focus imager with fluorescence and scattered-light imaging capabilities. The payload monitors temperature, pressure and relative humidity, and actively controls temperature. C. elegans (nematode, 50 m diameter x 1 mm long) was selected as a model organism due to previous space science experience, its completely sequenced genome, size, hardiness, and the variety of strains available. Three strains were chosen: two green GFP-tagged strains and one red tdTomato-tagged strain that label intestinal, nerve, and pharyngeal cells, respectively. The integrated fluidics system includes bioanalytical and reservoir modules. The former consists of four 150 L culture wells and a 4x5 mm imaging zone the latter includes two 8 mL fluid reservoirs for reagent and waste storage. The fluidic system is fabricated using multilayer polymer rapid prototyping: laser cutting, precision machining, die cutting, and pressure-sensitive adhesives it also includes eight solenoid-operated valves and one mini peristaltic pump. Young larval-state (L2) nematodes are loaded in C. elegans Maintenance Media (CeMM) in the bioanalytical module during pre-launch assembly. By the time orbit is established, the worms have grown to sufficient density to be imaged and are fed fresh CeMM. The strains are pumped sequentially into the imaging area, imaged, then pumped into waste. Reagent storage utilizes polymer bags under slight pressure to prevent bubble formation in wells or channels. The optical system images green and red fluorescence bands by excitation with blue (473 nm peak) and amber (587 nm peak) LEDs it achieves 8 m lateral resolution using a CMOS imaging chip (as configured for serial data speeds) or 4 m resolution using USB imaging chips. The imager consists of a modified commercial off-the-shelf CMOS chip camera, amber, blue and white LEDs, as well as a relay lens and dual-band filters to obviate moving parts while supporting both fluorescence wavelengths.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Wu, Diana Terri
(Universities Space Research Association Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Ricco, Antonio Joseph
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Lera, Matthew P.
(Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. United States)
Timucin, Linda R.
(Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. United States)
Parra, Macarena P.
(Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. United States)
Date Acquired
August 27, 2013
Publication Date
November 27, 2012
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR) 2012 Annual Meeting
Location: New Orleans, LA
Country: United States
Start Date: November 28, 2012
End Date: December 2, 2012
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 825080.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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