Astronaut Donald Thomas conducts the Fertilization and Embryonic Development of Japanese Newt in Space (AstroNewt) experiment at the Aquatic Animal Experiment Unit (AAEU) inside the International Microgravity Laboratory-2 (IML-2) science module. The AstroNewt experiment aims to know the effects of gravity on the early developmental process of fertilized eggs using a unique aquatic animal, the Japanese red-bellied newt. The newt egg is a large single cell at the begirning of development. The Japanese newt mates in spring and autumn. In late autumn, female newts enter hibernation with sperm in their body cavity and in spring lay eggs and fertilized them with the stored sperm. The experiment takes advantage of this feature of the newt. Groups of newts were sent to the Kennedy Space Center and kept in hibernation until the mission. The AAEU cassettes carried four newts aboard the Space Shuttle. Two newts in one cassette are treated by hormone injection on the ground to simulate egg laying. The other two newts are treated on orbit by the crew. The former group started maturization of eggs before launch. The effects of gravity on that early process were differentiated by comparison of the two groups. The IML-2 was the second in a series of Spacelab flights designed to conduct research by the international science community in a microgravity environment. Managed by the Marshall Space Flight Center, the IML-2 was launch on July 8, 1994 aboard the STS-65 Space Shuttle Orbiter Columbia mission.