Highlights from NASA's webpage lists studies done during the Space Shuttle Columbia mission STS-107 including student experiments, one of them including fish. What did the student fish experiment investigate and did any results survive the disaster? I was told by a NASA employee that the experiment was on goldfish and that the results did not survive the crash.


  • $\begingroup$ The page you link to mentions two different experiments with fish, the DLR on measuring the development of the gravity-sensing organs of fish in the absence of gravity and an international student experiment probing the effects of space flight on spiders, silkworms, inorganic crystals, fish, bees and ants. Which of the two are you interested in? $\endgroup$ – TildalWave May 21 '14 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ The second one you mentioned: "international student experiment probing the effects of space flight on spiders, silkworms, inorganic crystals, fish, bees and ants." $\endgroup$ – TK-421 May 21 '14 at 12:25
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    $\begingroup$ I can't find any mention of it in STS-107 experiments manifest (example, on page 2 side column, I couldn't find a more complete one), so I'm thinking it was in one of the biological experiment racks, sealed and unattended for the duration of the flight, meant to be inspected after landing? $\endgroup$ – TildalWave May 21 '14 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ I wonder if I am not remembering the story correctly or if it was said to me confused with the "Spiders in Space" (scienceinschool.org/print/110) experiment. According to MCC Status Report #08, the fish experiment involved Medaka fish embryos from Chinese students ( spaceflight.nasa.gov/spacenews/reports/sts-107/sts-107-08.html). $\endgroup$ – TK-421 May 21 '14 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ Related: space.stackexchange.com/a/4575/49 $\endgroup$ – TildalWave May 21 '14 at 13:24

A scholarly article documented the student experiment involving fish was published in the journal Zoological Science by the Zoological Society of Japan and summarizes the set-up and results of the experiment. Apparently there were no goldfish on-board from a student experiment; these were Medaka fish fry. There is no mention in the abstract if the results were transmitted or survived from the crash:

"Development and Swimming Behavior of Medaka Fry in a Spaceflight aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107) by Maki Niihori, Yoshihiro Mogami 2, Kiyoshi Naruse, and Shoji A. Baba

Here is the abstract from http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.2108/zsj.21.923, emphasis added:

A space experiment aimed at closely observing the development and swimming activity of medaka fry under microgravity was carried out as a part of the S*T*A*R*S Program, a space shuttle mission, in STS-107 in January 2003. Four eggs laid on earth in an artificially controlled environment were put in a container with a functionally closed ecological system and launched on the Space Shuttle Columbia. Each egg was held in place by a strip of Velcro in the container to be individually monitored by closeup CCD cameras. In the control experiment, four eggs prepared using the same experimental set-up remained on the ground. There was no appreciable difference in the time course of development between space- and ground-based embryos. In the ground experiment, embryos were observed to rotate in place enclosed with the egg membrane, whereas those in the flight unit did not rotate. One of the four eggs hatched on the 8th day after being launched into space. All four eggs hatched in the ground unit. The fry hatched in space was mostly motionless, but with occasional control of its posture with respect to references in the experimental chamber. The fry hatched on ground were observed to move actively, controlling their posture with respect to the gravity vector. These findings suggest that the absence of gravity affects the initiation process of motility of embryos and hatched fry.


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