Environmental Enrichment in the ISS Rodent Habitat Hardware System

Environmental Enrichment in the ISS Rodent Habitat Hardware System

Sophie Orr1, Rhonda Weigand2, Tanner Adams2, Raycho Raychev3 & Yuri Griko4

1 University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, USA
2 Redlands Community College, El Reno, OK, USA
3 Space Challenges Program, EnduroSat Inc. Sofia, Bulgaria
4 Division of Space Biosciences, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, USA

International Journal of Bioscience and MedicineResponses of animals exposed to microgravity during in-space experiments were observed via available video recording stored in the NASA Ames Life Sciences Data Archive. These documented observations of animal behavior, as well as the range and level of activities during spaceflight, clearly demonstrate that weightlessness conditions and the extreme novelty of the surroundings exert damaging psychological stresses on the inhabitants. In response to a recognized need for in-flight animals to improve their wellbeing we propose to reduce such stresses by shaping and interrelating structures and surroundings to satisfying vital physiological needs of inhabitants. A Rodent Habitat Hardware System (RHHS) based housing facility incorporating a tubing network system, to maintain and monitor rodent health environment with advanced accessories has been proposed. Placing mice in a tubing-configured environment creates more natural space-restricted nesting environment for rodents, thereby facilitating a more comfortable transition to living in microgravity. A sectional tubing structure of the RHHS environment will be more beneficial under microgravity conditions than the provision of a larger space area that is currently utilized.
The new tubing configuration was found suitable for further incorporation of innovative monitoring technology and accessories in the animal holding habitat unit which allow to monitor in real-time monitoring of valuable health related biological parameters under weightlessness environment of spaceflight.

Keywords: Environmental Enrichment, ISS Rodent Habitat Hardware System

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How to cite this article:
Sophie Orr et al.,. Environmental Enrichment in the ISS Rodent Habitat Hardware System. International Journal of Bioscience and Medicine, 2017; 1:6. DOI: 10.28933/ijbm-2017-10-2601


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