Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Technical Review
    Vol. 53 No. 4 (2016)   New Products & Technologies
    Technical Papers

    Development of Mouse Habitat Unit for Use in "KIBO" Japanese Experiment Module on International Space Station

    Yusuke Hagiwara,
    Makoto Ohira,
    Hiroaki Kodama,
    Hirochika Murase,
    Toshimasa Ochiai,
    Hiroyasu Mizuno

    In-space experiments using mammals are one of the life science fields where researchers are in high demand. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has developed Japan's first in-space mouse habitat unit in accordance with a contract concluded with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), based on the outcomes of existing internal research and development. This unit was used for the mouse-rearing experiment conducted on board the "KIBO" Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) for the International Space Station (ISS) from July to August 2016, in which all the mice were successfully returned to the ground alive. The alive return of all the experimental mice to the ground after a long-term stay in space was the first such successful mission ever recorded. This report provides an overview and the outcomes of our newly-developed mouse habitat unit and its mission in space.