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Resistance of Bacterial Endospores to Outer Space for Planetary Protection Purposes—Experiment PROTECT of the EXPOSE-E Mission

Horneck, Gerda and Moeller, Ralf and Cadet, Jean and Douki, Thierry and Mancinelli, Rocco L. and Nicholson, Wayne L. and Panitz, Corinna and Rabbow, Elke and Rettberg, Petra and Spry, Andrew and Stackebrandt, Erko and Vaishampayan, Parag and Venkateswaran, Kasthuri J. (2012) Resistance of Bacterial Endospores to Outer Space for Planetary Protection Purposes—Experiment PROTECT of the EXPOSE-E Mission. Astrobiology, 12 (5), pp. 445-456. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2011.0737.

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Abstract

Spore-forming bacteria are of particular concern in the context of planetary protection because their tough endospores may withstand certain sterilization procedures as well as the harsh environments of outer space or planetary surfaces. To test their hardiness on a hypothetical mission to Mars, spores of Bacillus subtilis 168 and Bacillus pumilus SAFR-032 were exposed for 1.5 years to selected parameters of space in the experiment PROTECT during the EXPOSE-E mission on board the International Space Station. Mounted as dry layers on spacecraft-qualified aluminum coupons, the ‘‘trip to Mars’’ spores experienced space vacuum, cosmic and extraterrestrial solar radiation, and temperature fluctuations, whereas the ‘‘stay on Mars’’ spores were subjected to a simulated martian environment that included atmospheric pressure and composition, and UV and cosmic radiation. The survival of spores from both assays was determined after retrieval. It was clearly shown that solar extraterrestrial UV radiation (λ ≥ 110 nm) as well as the martian UV spectrum (λ ≥ 200 nm) was the most deleterious factor applied; in some samples only a few survivors were recovered from spores exposed in monolayers. Spores in multilayers survived better by several orders of magnitude. All other environmental parameters encountered by the ‘‘trip to Mars’’ or ‘‘stay on Mars’’ spores did little harm to the spores, which showed about 50% survival or more. The data demonstrate the high chance of survival of spores on a Mars mission, if protected against solar irradiation. These results will have implications for planetary protection considerations.

Document Type:Article
Title:Resistance of Bacterial Endospores to Outer Space for Planetary Protection Purposes—Experiment PROTECT of the EXPOSE-E Mission
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Horneck, Gerda Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany.
Moeller, RalfRadiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany.
Cadet, Jean Laboratoire ‘‘Lésions des Acides Nucléiques’’, SCIB-UMR-E n°3 (CEA/UJF), Institut Nanosciences et Cryogénie, CEA/Grenoble, Grenoble, France
Douki, Thierry Laboratoire ‘‘Lésions des Acides Nucléiques’’, SCIB-UMR-E n°3 (CEA/UJF), Institut Nanosciences et Cryogénie, CEA/Grenoble, Grenoble, France
Mancinelli, Rocco L. Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, USA.
Nicholson, Wayne L. Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida, Space Life Sciences Laboratory, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA.
Panitz, Corinna Institut für Flugmedizin, Technical University RWTH, Aachen, Germany.
Rabbow, Elke Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany.
Rettberg, Petra Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany.
Spry, Andrew Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA.
Stackebrandt, Erko German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH (DSMZ), Braunschweig, Germany.
Vaishampayan, Parag Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA.
Venkateswaran, Kasthuri J. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA.
Date:2012
Journal or Publication Title:Astrobiology
Refereed publication:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:12
DOI:10.1089/ast.2011.0737
Page Range:pp. 445-456
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Status:Published
Keywords:Planetary protection, Bacterial spores, Space experiment, Simulated Mars mission
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Forschung unter Weltraumbedingungen
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Strahlenbiologie
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Deposited By: Kerstin Kopp
Deposited On:09 Aug 2012 08:35
Last Modified:18 Jul 2014 00:20

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