The experiment modules from Techshot’s Multi-use Variable-gravity Platform (MVP) validation investigation returned to Earth last Saturday aboard SpaceX’s Dragon capsule. The MVP, which launched on SpaceX CRS-14, is a facility about the size of a microwave oven that provides an artificial gravity research platform onboard the International Space Station.
The MVP has two internal carousels that can each host six experiment modules and can produce up to 2 g of artificial gravity. Investigators can use the MVP for research involving a wide variety of samples, including cultured cells, protein crystals, plants, tissue chips, fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), flatworms, and fish.
To test the MVP and ensure it is working properly, Techshot conducted a validation investigation using fruit flies. For this experiment, one carousel of modules remained stationary to collect baseline data on the fruit flies in microgravity. The other carousel of modules spun to produce an artificial gravity environment simulating the normal force of gravity on Earth to serve as a control group. In addition to validating the MVP, the experiment will also provide data on biological issues common between humans and fruit flies. More than 75% of human disease genes have analogs in the fruit fly genome.
Read more about the MVP on EurekAlert!