Header Bar Graphic
Astronaut ImageArchives HeaderBoy Image

TabHomepage ButtonWhat is NASA Quest ButtonSpacerCalendar of Events ButtonWhat is an Event ButtonHow do I Participate Button
SpacerBios and Journals ButtonSpacerPics, Flicks and Facts ButtonArchived Events ButtonQ and A ButtonNews Button
SpacerEducators and Parents ButtonSpacer
Highlight Graphic
Sitemap ButtonSearch ButtonContact Button

Neurolab Online banner

Rat Habitat

Submitted by Mrs. Alexander's Class


To keep droppings from piling up on the ground we thought of a little vacuum that sucks the droppings into a net. Once each day when the astronauts check on the cage they will empty out the net and throw it into the garbage. It will only take a minute or two to do this simple job.

To keep the smell from going around the cage we came up with a clever idea. We would use an unscented spray which is talked about in our smell paragraph.


For the smell problem we thought that you could send an unscented deodorizer down. When the substance goes down to the stench it will absorb it. You could attach a container to the top to hold it. Then you could put a switch on the container. This switch would allow it so that a ray of deodorizer hits the stench. Then there would be no stench problems. The astronauts could push the switch during their ten-minute period oftime with the animal. This would allow the deodorizer to take effect whenever you want.


The water problem was hard but we have thought of a way to recycle and the rat has enough to drink! You take the leftover water from the cabin during your 10 minutes and add it to the water tank below the cage like on the picture. The water tank will pump the water it has to the 3 water bottles around the cage. When the rat drinks and it drips it will go through the screen on the bottom of the cage to the water tank centered below it. Then the water tank will pump that water back through the pipe leading into the water bottle and you have a cycle also you are recycling the water because rats will eat or drink anything.


Our thought on how to handle the food is to have a bowl with flaps the rat can lift up. This bowl will be basically a regular bowl. The only thing different about this bowl is it will have a lid with flaps all over the place, with a little bit of them sticking out so the rat can lift them up and get food. This way the rat's head will be in the hole grabbing food so the food will not float out. This is a good way to feed the rat because it is easy for the rat to get food and it won't let the food float around and disturb the astronauts. The bowl will be velcroed down to the cage so that the rat can get to it easily and won't have to float around until it bumps into the bowl. One more thing, the astronauts will have to fill the bowl up if it gets low during their ten-minute period. This is a very convenient way to feed the rat without a lot of hassle.


Our habitat has a little dimming light bulb on the ceiling. It's on a timer set for every 12 hours so it dims in like a sunrise and dims backout like a sunset. This way the rat gets the full 12 hours of sunlight on Earth and the normal amount of nighttime so it's sleeping habits aren't disturbed.

For the window problem of the 90-minute intervals outside we have thought of a way to keep that from happening. What you do is make the cage out of tinted windows like in the laboratories where they test things. When you look in the rat doesn't get scared because he can't see out but you can see in! That way you can study the rat and he won't get scared.


Gravity - To keep the rat from floating around his cage we have decided on using the BOTEX system which will simulate Earth gravity.
Air Circulation - To keep the air moving so the rat doesn't overheat or suffocate we decided to put little fans on each comer. Those little fans will keep the air moving and create a made-up wind that will also cool the cage a little. Also the fans won't be too strong so they don't blow the rat away.


For exercise we thought you could have an exercise ball. See picture below.

drawing of exercise ball

The ball would have a hole in it. There it will have a strip. He could crawl in either side. See picture below. drawing of ball with hole in it

Then you could have a stand.

You could have a little metal piece attached to the ball. Then you could have a wire. The wire will be set next to the ball. The wire on the other side would be attached to a generator. When the wire hits the metal piece it will create energy for a light and a fan.

student drawing of a habitat

Click on picture to see more detail


Footer Bar Graphic
SpacerSpace IconAerospace IconAstrobiology IconWomen of NASA IconSpacer
Footer Info