Team:UNIK Copenhagen/Experimental Concept

Red Lab Experimental Concept And Set-Up

To verify feasibility, rigorous testing of the organisms will be carried out in the Red Lab. This includes both survivability, effectiveness and strength of the final product.
In order to achieve our goal, the Red Lab has had to not only invent new experimental set-ups specific to our needs, but also combine them with the aim of stressing the organisms with extra-terrestrial conditions.


Acclimatisation Cycle

The chosen method for acclimating the bacteria is that of accelerated natural selection , where exposure times are gradually increased so that a fraction of the cultures survive each time. Eventually, a plate of highly resilient bacteria is achieved and we move on to the next parameter.
A further perspective for this method is that the surviving "super" genes will eventually be sequenced, and the key to their survival found.

Acclimatisation Cycle

Fig.1 Graphic explanation of the acclimatisation cycle. First the bacteria in the petri dish are introduced in the Mars Chamber and subjected to one parameter (i.e. low pressure). Secondly, the exposure times are gradually increased and each time a fraction of the cultures survive.
In the end a plate of highly resilient bacteria is achieved.


Single-Parameter Experiments


Pressure Bells

Using the simple apparatus of drinking glasses and silicon baking surface in combination with a pressure chamber (and silicon grease), our cultures are exposed to low pressures of 1.1, 0.9, 0.7 and 0.5 kPa for durations of 0 minutes, 6 h, 24 h, 3 days and 7 days.

low-tech pressure bell

Fig.2 Bacteria after being subjected to low pressure in the Mars Chamber.

UV Experiments

The Jens Martin Mars Chamber is equipped with a diode array capable of simulating the UV radiation on the surface of Mars, according to the distribution seen in Fig. 3.

UV wavelength distribution

Fig.3 Intensity as a function of wavelength

Combo Experiments

Modifying our set-up slightly, it has been made possible to combine the factors of UV and low pressure as well as the factors of UV and high CO2 concentration. These experiments are meant less to strengthen the acclimation as previously discussed and more to investigate whether combinations of the parameters will have unforeseen consequences, positive or negative.


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