Exposure of osmophilic microbes to the space environment (EXPOSE-R OSMO) - 11.22.16

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The Exposure of osmophilic microbes to the space environment (EXPOSE-R OSMO) experiment is aimed at understanding the response of microbes to the vacuum of space and to solar radiation, especially on unicellular organisms that survive in salty environments of high osmotic pressure. The EXPOSE programme is part of ESA’s research in astrobiology, i.e. the study of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe. EXPOSE offers one to two years of exposure with full access to all components of the harsh space environment: cosmic radiation, vacuum, full-spectrum solar light including UV-C, freezing/thawing cycles, microgravity.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Rocco L. Mancinelli, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Erasmus Experiment Archive.
Experiment Details

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
Rocco L. Mancinelli, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Information Pending

Developer(s)
European Space Agency (ESA), Noordwijk, Netherlands

Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
October 2008 - March 2011

Expeditions Assigned
18,19/20,21/22,23/24,25/26

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

The Exposure of osmophilic microbes to the space environment (EXPOSE-R OSMO) experiment aims to understand the response of microbes to the vacuum of space and to solar radiation. It especially focuses on unicellular organisms that survive in salty environments of high osmotic pressure, in this case Synechococcus (a cyanobacterium) and Halorubrum chaoviatoris (an archaeon). It asseses whether these salt-rich environments, as well as the high intracellular potassium concentration of the micro-organisms, play a role in protecting their DNA from vacuum desiccation and UV radiation in space.

Description
This experiment aims to understand the response of microbes to the vacuum of space and to solar radiation. It especially focuses on unicellular organisms that survive in salty environments of high osmotic pressure, in this case Synechococcus (a cyanobacterium) and Halorubrum chaoviatoris (an archaeon). It asseses whether these salt-rich environments, as well as the high intracellular potassium concentration of the micro-organisms, play a role in protecting their DNA from vacuum desiccation and UV radiation in space.

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Applications

Space Applications
The EXPOSE investigation allows exposure of biological specimen and material samples, whilst recording data on temperature and radiation spectra. The EXPOSE-R experiments are part of ESA’s research in astrobiology - the study of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the Universe. Some EXPOSE experiments investigate to what extent particular terrestrial organisms are able to cope with extra-terrestrial environmental conditions. Other EXPOSE experiments test how organic molecules react when subjected for a prolonged period of time to unfiltered solar light (chemical evolution).

Earth Applications
Information Pending

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

For the purpose of studying the protective effects of gypsum-halite crusts on enclosed osmophilic microorganisms (organic compounds), the Halobacteria Halorubrum chaoviatoris and the Cyanobacteria Synechococcus, are exposed to the space environment. Reference samples are kept in darkness.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Results Publications

    Mancinelli RL.  The affect of the space environment on the survival of Halorubrum chaoviator and Synechococcus (Nägeli): data from the Space Experiment OSMO on EXPOSE-R. International Journal of Astrobiology. 2015 January; 14(1): 123-128. DOI: 10.1017/S147355041400055X.

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Ground Based Results Publications

    Rabbow E, Horneck G, Rettberg P, Schott J, Panitz C, L'Afflitto A, von Heise-Rotenburg R, Willnecker R, Baglioni P, Hatton JP, Dettmann J, Demets R, Reitz G.  EXPOSE, an Astrobiological Exposure Facility on the International Space Station - from Proposal to Flight. Origins of life and evolution of the biosphere: The Journal of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life. 2009; 39(6): 581-598. DOI: 10.1007/s11084-009-9173-6.

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ISS Patents

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Related Publications

    Rabbow E, Rettberg P, Barczyk S, Bohmeier M, Parpart A, Panitz C, Horneck G, Burfeindt J, Molter F, Jaramillo E, Pereira C, Weib P, Willnecker R, Demets R, Dettmann J, Reitz G.  The astrobiological mission EXPOSE-R on board of the International Space Station. International Journal of Astrobiology. 2015 January; 14(1): 3-16. DOI: 10.1017/S1473550414000202.

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Related Websites
Expose-R-Osmo Information from ESA's Erasmus Experiment Archive

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Imagery

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NASA Image: ISS018E013542 - Yury Lonchakov in the Pirs Docking Compartment (DC1) as he works with an EXPOSE-R sample tray.

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NASA Image: ISS018E039227 - One of two Expedition 18 spacewalkers provided this close-up image of the Expose-R experiment, reinstalled a short while earlier on the outside of the Russian segment of the International Space Station. The European experiment is equipped with three trays which contain a variety of biological samples.

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NASA Image: ISS021E027095 - Expose-R experiment located on the exterior of the Service Module (SM)/Zvezda.

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NASA Image: ISS025E015290 - Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, Expedition 25 flight engineer, wearing a Russian Orlan spacesuit, is photographed working near the ESA experiment EXPOSE-R instrument installed on the Zvezda Service module. Photo taken during the Russian EVA 26.

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NASA Image: ISS026E021253 - EXPOSE R - Russian Experiment, in the Service Module (SM). Photo was taken during Expedition 26.

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