Phase 2 projects
The BIORAT experiment is an introductory step to microgravity experiments and it consists of a closed ecosystem reduced to CO2/O2 exchanges between a photobioreactor, containing the cyanobacteria Arthrospira platensis in continuous culture and a consumer compartment containing mice. The carbon dioxide produced by the mice is consumed by the algae in the photosynthetic process, resulting in a production of oxygen.
BIORAT has demonstrated in a preliminary activity with a “real consumer” (i.e. a mouse) the MELiSSA’s predictive control approach feasibility and the possibility to recycle O2/CO2.
FEMME (First Extraterrestrial Man Made Ecosystem): The maintenance and propagation of Life in an environment with different g-level, radiation, and temperature fluctuation is fundamental scientific research. Taking benefit from the past experience with the "Long Marche experiment" flown in 1987, it is proposed to study and develop hardware for an unpressurised system which could support bacterial cultures.
MESSAGE: It is well accepted that, in a space mission, microorganisms can be hazardous for the crew and contribute for the corrosion of materials. They can also contaminate food and water and are present in wastes. Therefore, in a closed system like the International Space Station or in a future long-duration flight it is of major importance to understand how microorganisms respond to space conditions (radiation, microgravity, magnetism…), especially if we consider how fast these living beings grow and duplicate. Earth-only experiments are incomplete and could lead to misleading predictions.
MESSAGE (Microbial Experiment in Space Station About Gene Expression) is a flight experiment which aims at comparing the growth and gene expression of microorganisms in space and Earth conditions. There is a survey for differences in physiology, motility, genetic stability, and genes/proteins that are specifically expressed/induced in space conditions.
This experiment (MESSAGE 1) was performed by Frank de Winne in November 2002, in the Belgian Taxi Flight (scientific odISSea mission) and was repeated (MESSAGE 2) in November 2003 by Pedro Duque in the Spanish Soyuz mission (Cervantes Mission).
Last update: 22 November 2007