EXPOSE-R2-BIOlogy and Mars EXperiment (EXPOSE-R2-BIOMEX) - 02.15.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The prime objectives of the BIOlogy and Mars Experiment (BIOMEX) are to measure the extent to which terrestrial organisms can survive in extreme environments (extremophiles), and in particular pigments and cellular components thereof, are resistant to space and Mars-like conditions. The experiment also analyses what interactions occur between extremophiles and selected minerals (including simulated Moon- and Mars analogue varieties). The results of BIOMEX are relevant for defining a database of biological markers to help in the search for life, either existing or extinct on future space missions, for example to Mars, as well as providing information about the chances for survival during a ‘natural’ trip in space (according to the Panspermia theory).
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Jean-Pierre de Vera, 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)
Jean-Pierre de Vera, Ph.D., Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, Germany

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

Developer(s)
European Space Agency (ESA), Noordwijk, Netherlands
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt , Institute of Planetary Research , 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 2015 - September 2015

Expeditions Assigned
43/44

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview
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. Traces of compounds produced when micro-organisms interact with surface minerals can for example provide a biological signature of both existing and extinct life.

Description
Information Pending

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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 bigger the database of biological signatures provides an increased chance of finding signs of extra-terrestrial organisms.

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 deprived of oxygen, together 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.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

  • Transport of 3 Expose-R2 sample carrier trays to 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.
  • Return of trays to Earth.
  • 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 BIOMEX experiment.  

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
BIOMEX from ESA's Erasmus Experiment Archive

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Imagery