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Integration of BIOPAN and interface testing with Foton take place approximately three months before the launch at the Foton construction site in Russia. At this stage, the manufacturing of the satellite and of its subsystems is completed, and all the necessary electrical and mechanical interface tests between carrier and pay-loads need to be carried out. The BIOPAN flight unit performances and its interfaces with Foton are verified through a sequence of mechanical and electrical tests....

Jupiters Moon Europa Geology and Habitability

After reviewing the current knowledge of the geological processes and the surface composition of Jupiter's moon Europa, this chapter concentrates on the geophysical data that suggest below the ice crust the presence of a deep ocean that would be in contact with a silicate core. Models of Europa's thermal evolution are then described. Based on the ocean hypothesis of Europa, the chapter then considers the astrobiological aspects of Europa and the perspectives of potential life at the interface...

Stone

The STONE experiments aim to study the physical, chemical, and biological modifications caused by atmospheric entry in rocks, in meteoritic materials, and in their possible embedded organisms. For this purpose, different types of rock, loaded with microorganisms, are mounted in the heat shield of the Foton reentry capsule. During reentry into the atmosphere at the end of the two-week flight, the STONE rock samples are subjected to temperature and pressure loads comparable to those experienced...

Time Scales of Interplanetary Transport of Life

To travel from one planet of our Solar System to another, e.g., from Mars to Earth, by random motion, a mean time of several hundred thousands to millions of years has been estimated for boulder-sized rocks but only two months for microscopic particles. Therefore, the LDEF experiment may be considered a reasonable simulation of an interplanetary transfer event. Because LDEF was in a near-equatorial, low-altitude Earth orbit, during each orbit the satellite traveled about 40 650 km every 90 min....

Gamma Radiation Sterilization

Gamma radiation sterilization results from the interaction of photons in the range of 1.17-1.33 MeV (issued from high-activity radioactive 60Co sources) with living systems. Such photons are able to penetrate several centimeters into steel. The typical dose is 25 kGy, which is sufficient to kill spores of the reference microorganism Bacillus pumilus, known as the most radiation-resistant representative of bacterial spores. Sterilization with gamma irradiation requires a few minutes to a few...

Implementation of Planetary Protection Guidelines

Planetary protection considerations must be implemented very early in the development of a space mission to one of the bodies of our Solar System, because they may influence the design and integration of the final spacecraft and its operations. The initial starting point is the determination of the relevant category of the space mission-target planet combination (Table 13.1) and whether some sort of bioload control may be necessary. Usually the first formal recognition of a requirement is in...

Bioload Measurements

Monitoring the bioload of a spacecraft is essential for determining the compliance of a project with the planetary protection guidelines issued by COSPAR. There are several reasons for knowing the number and type of microorganisms in and around a spacecraft with regard to planetary protection issues The data are the basis for determining appropriate sterilization or cleaning procedures. The data will help us to understand the survival and growth potential of microorganisms on the target planet...

Preface

Astrobiology is a relatively new research area that addresses questions that have intrigued humans for a long time How did life originate Are we alone in the Universe What is the future of life on Earth and in the Universe These questions are jointly tackled by scientists converging from widely different fields, reaching from astrophysics to molecular biology and from planetology to ecology, among others. Whereas classical biological research has concentrated on the only example of life so far...

Containment in a Cell Membrane

As mentioned earlier, all life on Earth is cellular, which means that it is all contained within, and separated from its environment by cell membranes. This containment is important for many reasons. The molecules synthesized in the cells do not escape into the environment, and the concentrations of the intracellular molecules are maintained at desired levels by regulating their synthesis and degradation. Molecules from outside are transported in and out in a regulated manner, and the cellular...

Astrobiology Exploratory Missions and Planetary Protection Requirements

Gerda Horneck, Andre Debus, Peter Mani, and J. Andrew Spry This chapter describes the legal and scientific issues of planetary protection requirements required for each space mission within our Solar System. Planetary protection is based on an international treaty to prevent the introduction of microbes from the Earth to another celestial body or vice versa, whether this occurs intentionally or unintentionally. Based on this treaty, a concept of contamination control has been elaborated by the...

Discuss The Effect Of The Solar Wind On The Earth

Planets and moons of our Solar System are exposed to a complex radiation field of galactic and solar origin (Fig. 11.1). Galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) originates outside of our Solar System in previous cataclysmic events, such as supernovae explosions. When it enters our Solar System, its energies must be high enough to overcome deflection by the magnetic fields of the Solar System. Solar cosmic radiation (SCR) consists of two components, the low-energy solar wind particles that flow...

Putting Together an Exobiology Mission The Exo Mars Example

In this chapter, the different steps towards the making of an exobiological mission to Mars are presented, exemplified by the ExoMars project of the European Space Agency (ESA). The chapter starts with a short description of the exobiological activities at ESA that have led to the development of the ExoMars concept. Then, the scientific rationale and objectives of the mission are covered, followed by a description of the instruments and engineering design required to reach the objectives. It is...

Exo Mars Mission Description

The baseline mission scenario, shown in Fig. 12.5, consists of a spacecraft composite with a carrier and a descent module, launched by a Soyuz 2 b rocket from Kourou, Europe's spaceport in French Guiana. It will follow a two-year delayed trajectory designed to reach Mars after the statistical dust storm season. The carrier will release the descent module from the hyperbolic arrival path. The descent module will enter the Martian atmosphere, land (using either bouncing non-vented, as in MER or...

Biopan

BIOPAN is based on the heritage of a low-tech Russian exposure container called KNA (Kontejner Nafflchnoj Apparatfflry Container of Scientific Equipment). KNA, used by the ESA for radiobiological experiments on three Russian BION missions in 1987,1989, and 1992, was a passive experiment container with a hinged lid. The lid was open during launch - with the experiments protected only by the nose fairing of the launcher - and during orbital flight. Before landing, the spring-loaded lid was closed...

Age of the Universe

Fig. 2.1 Evolution of the early Universe (Image credit ESA). Fig. 2.1 Evolution of the early Universe (Image credit ESA). matter dominated. Relatively soon, at T 0.3 eV or 3 000 K, or 380 000 years from the Big Bang, the average background photon encountered its last scattering. The distant faint glow of the temperature (and matter) fluctuations of that moment can be seen as the cosmic microwave background. Around the time of the last scattering, the temperature had fallen enough so that atoms...

Landers or Rovers with in Situ Measurements

All lander missions to Mars fall into category IV. Table 13.5 shows that there were at least five successful landing events on Mars, namely, Viking 1 and Viking 2, Mars Pathfinder, and the two Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. However, those lander missions that failed needed to follow the same stringent planetary protection requirements (Table 13.1). The Viking landers themselves, with their overarching goal of searching for signatures in indigenous microbial life on the surface...

Habitability and Energy

For a planetary surface to be habitable, it must also have a supply of energy. At least for much of life on Earth, this energy is derived from the flow of electrons through a biologically mediated electron transport chain. The fundamental chemical process that drives energy acquisition is called the chemiosmotic theory. Electron transport that occurs during redox reactions expels protons from the cell membrane. This translocation process creates a proton gradient across the cell membrane. The...

Books and Articles in Books

Studies on the effects of cosmic HZE particles in different biological systems in the Biostack experiments and , flown on board of Apollo 16 and 17. In Radiation Research, Nygaard, O. F., Adler, H. ., Sinclair, W. K. Eds. , Academic Press, New York, pp. 1138-1151, 1975. ESA, The ESA Radiation Handbook, ESA PSS-01-609 Issue 1, 1993. ESA, Proceedings of the 2nd European Symposium on the Utilization of the International Space Station, ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands,...