Biolab: a project European

At the beginning of December 2007, the European laboratory Columbus left the Kennedy Space Center  heading towards the International Space Station. A large amount of the usable space, equivalent to  75 m3, was stacked with special racks, and had real research laboratories, in different fields: the European Transport Carrier (ETC), the Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL) the European Physiology Modules (EPM), the European Drawer Rack (EDR) and the famous Biolab.
Biolab is a minilaboratory which occupies a volume of 2 m3,  that will be utilized by the astronauts to carry out studies on the different behaviour and different growth, in the presence of microgravity, of microorganisms, cells, bacteria, small plants and small invertebrates. It is subdivided into two parts: on the left, a completely automatic section, where the experiments are carried out; on the right, the manual section, used solely to stock the samples and for specific manual activities of the crew.The most interesting part of the Biolab is the incubator, a device that can keep the environment at a constant temperature between 18 and 40 degrees centigrade. Furthermore, inside the incubator, there are two centrifuges with six Experiment Containers each, in which the microorganisms to be studied are introduced, and which can, independently one from the other, simulate the Earth’s force of gravity.  Gravity is obtained by making the Containers rotate on a disc where they are made to reach a speed that gives place to a centrifugal force of 1 g, which is equivalent to the Earth’s  force of gravity.

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