European Technology Exposure Facility-Expose-Seeds (EuTEF-Expose-Seeds) - 06.27.18

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Grow us a Mars garden!   After one and a half years of exposure to space conditions, 23 percent of the seeds from 2,100 varieties of wild-type mustard and tobacco produce viable plants. The data indicate that an unprotected, seed-like entity could survive exposure to solar UV radiation during transfer between Mars and Earth. All seeds shielded from solar light survived, indicating that longer space travel is possible for seeds embedded in an opaque medium. Other results indicate that even if the seeds themselves do not survive radiation exposure, components of them, such as their DNA, might.

The following content was provided by David Tepfer, 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)
David Tepfer, Institute National de la Recherche Agronomique , Versailles , France

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Sydney Leach, LERMA, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon , Meudon, France
S Hoffmann, Denmark
P. Ducrot, France
F. Corbineau, France
C. Wood

Developer(s)
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Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
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Research Benefits
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ISS Expedition Duration
October 2007 - October 2009

Expeditions Assigned
16,17,18,19/20

Previous Missions
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Experiment Description

Research Overview
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Description
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Applications

Space Applications
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Earth Applications
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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
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Decadal Survey Recommendations

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Results/More Information

Of the 2100 wild-type Arabidopsis thaliana (cress plant) and Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) seeds, 23% produce viable plants after exposure for 1.5 years to full space conditions including solar UV. The highest survival occurred in tobacco (44%). These results indicate that an unprotected, seed-like entity could survive exposure to solar UV radiation during a hypothetical transfer between Mars and Earth.

Full survival is attained in seeds shielded from solar light, indicating that a longer space travel would be possible for seeds embedded in an opaque matrix. Survival is lower in the Arabidopsis Wassilewskija ecotype and in mutants lacking UV screens.

Chemical samples of seed flavonoid UV screens are degraded by UV but their overall capacity to absorb UV is retained.  DNA fragments are also degraded by UV.  However, a fragment  is detected and the gene survives in space when protected from UV. Even if seeds do not survive, components (e.g., their DNA) might survive transfer over cosmic distances.

 

 

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Results Publications

    Tepfer D, Leach S.  Survival and DNA damage in plant seeds exposeds for 558 and 682 days outside the International Space Station. Astrobiology. 2017 March 6; 17(3): 11 pp. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2015.1457. PMID: 28263676.

    Tepfer D, Zalar A, Leach S.  Survival of Plant Seeds, Their UV Screens, and nptII DNA for 18 Months Outside the International Space Station. Astrobiology. 2012; 12(5): 517-528. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2011.0744. PMID: 22680697.

    Rabbow E, Rettberg P, Barczyk S, Bohmeier M, Parpart A, Panitz C, Horneck G, von Heise-Rotenburg R, Hoppenbrouwers T, Willnecker R, Baglioni P, Demets R, Dettmann J, Reitz G.  EXPOSE-E: An ESA Astrobiology Mission 1.5 Years in Space. Astrobiology. 2012 May; 12(5): 374-386. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2011.0760. PMID: 22680684. [also results for: EuTEF-Expose-SEEDS, DOSIS/DOBIES, R3D3]

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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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