EXPOSE-R2-Biofilm Organisms Surfing Space (EXPOSE-R2-BOSS) - 04.04.18

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
In their natural environment, most bacteria live on surfaces as slime-encased biofilms and microbial mat communities (the fossils of the latter represent the earliest clear signs of life on Earth). In comparison to their planktonic (floating/non-fixed) counterparts, these biofilms are significantly more resistant to environmental stresses like chemical pollution, antibiotics, and predators. The Biofilm Organisms Surfing Space (BOSS) experiment tests whether biofilm-forming microbes are more resistant than planktonic samples to the environmental conditions in space, and on Mars.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Petra Rettberg, Ph.D., 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)
Petra Rettberg, Ph.D., DLR, Institut für Luft- und Raumfahrtmedizin, Radiation Biology Department, Cologne, Germany

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

Developer(s)
European Space Agency (ESA), Noordwijk, Netherlands
DLR, Institut für Luft- und Raumfahrtmedizin, Radiation Biology Department, Cologne, Germany
OHB System AG, Bremen, Germany

Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
European Space Agency

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2014 - March 2016; March 2016 - September 2016

Expeditions Assigned
39/40,41/42,43/44,45/46,47/48

Previous Missions
Information Pending

^ back to top

Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The Biofilm Organisms Surfing Space (BOSS) experiment tests whether biofilm-forming microbes are more resistant than planktonic samples to the environmental conditions in space, and on Mars. Studying and discovering organisms on Earth that can survive the extreme conditions in space provides an insight into the characteristics that extra-terrestrial life would need to survive in space, or on another planetary body. These characteristics, whether being able to protect itself against UV radiation, surviving extended periods without water, or under extremely low pressure conditions- creates a biological fingerprint, a chemical map, which could be used to find similar organisms on other planets.
  • The results of BOSS contributes to the understanding of the capability of life to persist in extreme environments on Earth, in space, and on other planets. The results will help to answer many questions such as:  Are micro-organisms in biofilms more resistant to different harmful environmental conditions than single cells? Does embedding the microorganisms under minerals (as under the surface of a meteoroid or planetary body) add additional protection for the microorganisms? Is there any correlation between UV resistance and resistance to other factors?

Description
Information Pending

^ back to top

Applications

Space Applications
Studying and discovering organisms on Earth that can survive the extreme conditions in space provides an insight into the characteristics that extra-terrestrial life would need to survive in space or on another planetary body. These characteristics, whether it is being able to protect itself against UV radiation, surviving extended periods without water, or under extremely low pressure conditions creates a biological fingerprint, a chemical map which could be used to find similar organisms on other planets. The creation of a larger database of biological signatures provides an increased chance of finding signs of extra-terrestrial organisms. In addition, building a database of microorganisms that can survive the harsh space environment increases the potential to develop different biotechnology applications on future exploration missions to other planetary bodies, ranging from mineral processing and in situ soil production to biological life support systems.

Earth Applications
This type of research can provide an insight into our own existence and evolution by testing the possibilities of how life could have started on early Earth when the atmosphere was very different to now, with more extreme temperatures, an atmosphere composed of carbon dioxide and other poisonous gases, along with levels of solar ultraviolet radiation about 1000 times stronger than today. In addition, by uncovering the secrets of life's survival on the Earth, astrobiology has found, and can further find, organisms that could find their way into biotechnology applications.

^ back to top

Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

  • Transport of 3 Expose-R2 sample carrier trays to International Space Station (ISS).
  • Storage on ISS before exposure:  maximum of 6 months.
  • Installation of sample carrier trays into, and Sun shield over, Expose-R2 payload.
  • Installation of Expose-R2 payload outside Russian ISS segment on the URM-D platform during Russian EVA.
  • Checkout and commissioning including evacuation of selected sample carriers by telecommand.
  • Removal of Sun shield during second Russian EVA.
  • Continuous exposure outside ISS for optimum 12, maximum of 18, minimum of 10 months.
  • Closing of vacuum valves by telecommand and de-installation of Expose-R2 payload during third Russian EVA.
  • De-installation of sample trays from Expose-R2 payload.
  • Download of trays.
  • Photos before, during and after exposure.
During the exposure period the experiment remains passive. Environmental parameters (temperature, UV irradiation, ionizing radiation) are measured by sensors that are not part of the BOSS experiment.

^ back to top

Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

^ back to top

Results/More Information

Information Pending

^ back to top

Related Websites
EXPOSE-R2-BOSS on ESA's Erasmus Experiment Archive

^ back to top


Imagery