biological research station

I really cracked up when I learnt for the first time that Ulysses and Biological Research Station share voice. I mean, all my respect to Roger Cross’ voice acting, both characters sound great and nothing alike, but this connection still leaves a funny feeling in the back of my head whenever I think about it.

Let's talk about Metroid stages.

‘Hoy there, folks! It’s Wander again, for one more Stage Select article.

So here’s the thing. Here are some of the stages Smash has had to represent Metroid:

Notice any trends? Yeah, acid/lava seems to be a big thing with Metroid stages. Even when the lava doesn’t actually interact with the players (like in Pyrosphere), you know it’s there. To be fair, there have been Metroid stages based around things other than lava:

…specifically, spinning the stage around. Preferably with some large monster in the background (and even one of these still has lava in it!). You know, Metroid is famous for its atmosphere; for its distinct alien worlds and memorable locales. We’re sure that it could lend some fantastic stages to Smash that are a bit different from what we’ve seen before. That’s why we’ve made a list! Yep, this time it’s a…

Metroid Stages!

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Space Station Science: Biological Research

Each month, we highlight a different research topic on the International Space Station. In August, our focus is biological research. Learning how spaceflight affects living organisms will help us understand potential health risks related to humans on long duration missions, including our journey to Mars.

Cells, microbes, animals and plants are affected by microgravity, and studying the processes involved in adaptation to spaceflight increases our fundamental understanding of biological processes on Earth. Results on Earth from biological research in space include the development of new medications, improved agriculture, advancements in tissue engineering and regeneration, and more. 

Take a look at a few of the biological research experiments performed on space station:

Biomolecule Sequencer

Living organisms contain DNA, and sequencing DNA is a powerful way to understand how they respond to changing environments. The Biomolecule Sequencer experiment hopes to demonstrate (for the first time) that DNA sequencing is feasible in an orbiting spacecraft. Why? A space-based DNA sequencer could identify microbes, diagnose diseases and understand crew member health, and potentially help detect DNA- based life elsewhere in the solar system.


Yes, ant-stronauts…as in ants in space. These types of studies provide insights into how ants answer collective search problems. Watching how the colony adapts as a unit in the quest for resources in extreme environments, like space, provides data that can be used to build algorithms with varied applications. Understanding how ants search in different conditions could have applications for robotics.


The TAGES experiment (Transgenic Arabidopsis Gene Expression System) looks to see how microgravity impacts the growth of plant roots. Fluorescent markers placed on the plant’s genes allow scientists to study root development of Arabidopsis (a cress plant) grown on the space station. Evidence shows that directional light in microgravity skews root growth to the right, rather than straight down from the light source. Root growth patters on station mimic that of plants grown at at 45% degree angle on Earth. Space flight appears to slow the rate of the plant’s early growth as well.

Heart Cells

Spaceflight can cause a suite of negative health effects, which become more problematic as crew members stay in orbit for long periods of time. Effects of Microgravity on Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomycytes (Heart Cells) studies the human heart, specifically how heart muscle tissue contracts, grows and changes in microgravity. Understanding how heart muscle cells change in space improves efforts for studying disease, screening drugs and conducting cell replacement therapy for future space missions.

Medaka Fish

Chew on these results…Jaw bones of Japanese Medaka fish in microgravity show decreased mineral density and increased volume of osteoclasts, cells that break down bone tissue. Results from this study improve our understanding of the mechanisms behind bone density and organ tissue changes in space.

These experiments, and many others, emphasize the importance of biological research on the space station. Understanding the potential health effects for crew members in microgravity will help us develop preventatives and countermeasures.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:

So, you want to get into the Metroid series? This masterpost will tell you everything you need to know about the series with minimal spoilers, and list all the main games in the series.

What is Metroid about?

Metroid is about Samus Aran, an independant bounty hunter, and her battles with the various entities that threaten the galaxy. Samus wears the Power Suit, an artifact given to her by the Chozo, an advanced avian alien species that raised her after she was orphaned at the hands of Ridley, a space pirate commander. The following games are categorized in chronological order.

Metroid/ Metroid: Zero Mission (NES/GBA) (1986/2004)

The first Metroid was a largely confusing game; Zero Mission was an enhanced remake of the original, with a more traditional method of storytelling. Zero Mission features the tradtional “Metroidvania” style of gameplay, with large, expansive maps, hidden items, secret passageways, and the best example of classic Metroid gameplay. In Zero Mission, Samus is sent to the planet Zebes, the abandoned Chozo planet, in order to exterminate the Space Pirates and their leader, Mother Brain.

Metroid Prime (Gamecube) (2002)

As there were no Metroid games released for the Nintendo 64, many players were worried as to how Metroid would fare on a “next-gen” system like the Gamecube. Retro Studios, the developers responsible for Prime, brought the series into the first person perspective, while still keeping the atmosphere and gameplay of the series intact. The Prime series focuses more on exploration and discovery rather than combat, but battles in the Prime series are by no means shallow or boring. In Prime, Samus investigates another abandoned Chozo planet, Tallon IV, to defeat the Space Pirates there, and halt the flow of a mysterious and powerful corruptive element known as Phazon.

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (Gamecube) (2004)

A direct sequel to Metroid Prime, Echoes once again follows Samus to another planet wracked by Phazon; Aether. Aether has been split into two dimensions, Light and Dark, the latter being inhabited by an incredibly hostile and dangerous foe known as the Ing. Dark Samus also makes an appearance, and Samus must traverse through both Light Aether, and the poisonous Dark Aether in order to survive.

Metroid Prime: Hunters (DS) (2006)

While not a direct sequel to the Prime games, Hunters maintains the first person perspective unique to the first two Prime games. Samus receives yet another distress call from a remote planet, and seeks it out. Other bounty hunters are beckoned by the promise of power, and battle Samus on their way to the source of the signal. Hunters was unique in being one of the few Metroid games to feature online multiplayer, where the player could play as any of the seven unique hunters.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii) (2007)

Corruption is yet another direct sequel in the Prime games. While maintaining the gameplay of the previous two, Corruption features the Wii’s motion and aiming controls, allowing for a more streamlined experience. Phazon is in full force in Corruption, and to defeat Dark Samus once and for all, Samus must learn to harness a new power that could ultimately destroy her from the inside out.

Metroid II: Return of Samus (Gameboy) (1991)

The Metroid species, introduced in the original game, have been designated a cosmic threat by the Galactic Federation. Samus is hired to travel to SR388, the Metroid homeworld, and wipe out the entire Metroid population. Various states of Metroid physiology are introduced, such as Gamma, Zeta, and Queen Metroids. The gameplay of II is similar to the original, and…

Super Metroid (Super Nintendo) (1994)

Widely regarded as the best Metroid game, Super Metroid tells of Samus’ return to Zebes, which is now portrayed as a massive planet with several vast areas. Samus collects multiple items which increase the capabilities of her suit and grant her special abilities. At this point in time, the last Metroid is in captivity, and the galaxy is at peace. Or is it?

Metroid Fusion (GBA) (2002)

The last game in the series, chronologically, Samus is in an accident which involves her Power Suit being permanently grafted to her body. Abandoned on the Biologic Space Labs research station, Samus must eradicate a new threat, the deadly X Parasite, while being hunted by an even more ruthless foe…

Other Games:

Metroid Prime Pinball (DS) (2005)

A simple pinball game for the Nintendo DS, Metroid Prime Pinball was another generic pinball game with elements from the Prime series.

Metroid Prime Trilogy (Wii) (2009)

All three Metroid Prime games were released together as the Metroid Prime Trilogy; each game is now playable with either the controls of the first two Prime games, or Corruption’s motion controls. The game saw a limited release, so copies are quite expensive.

Metroid: Other M (Wii) (2010)

Don’t. Other M is not essential to the Metroid storyline, and is widely considered to be non-canon, as well as starring extremely limited controls, a gameplay style that goes against the Metroid experience, and the butchering of existing Metroid canon.

How To Play

All of the Metroid games on the Game Boy Advance, NES, or Super Nintendo can be easily emulated (own a legal copy first, kids!), and the Prime games are largely inexpensive, and range usually under twenty dollars.