The BioAsteroid: The first experiment of Bioreactor Express
The BioAsteroid experiment from the University of Edinburgh will investigate how gravity affects the interaction between microbes and rock in reduced gravity. The experiment uses the KEU-RK Experiment Units, each featuring two bio-mining reactors (BMR) capable of culturing microbial biofilms on the surface of a flat rock slide.
The two BMRs are totally independent and are equipped with reservoirs for chemicals and a culture chamber. The culture chamber allows gas exchange during the experiment. Moreover, the transparency of the culture chamber allows the visual observation of the microbial film without disassembling the unit. The scientific protocol is driven by the embedded electronics following a programmed timeline.
After re-entry on Earth both the culture slide and the process fluids will be retrieved for analysis.
The BioAsteroid investigation studies how gravity affects the interaction between microbes and rock in a liquid medium with the goal to provide researchers a better understanding of basic physical processes - such as gravity, convection, and mixing - that control the way liquids mix with rocks and microbes. This will inform biomining, use of regolith in life support systems, and other bioprocessing applications involving rocks and regolith.
ASTEROIDS FOR EVERYONE
The Asteroid Mission initiative is a pioneer program offering a two-day hands on experience for students to learn about the history of space exploration and the characteristics of NASA's mission, which seeks to answer, through the analysis of the asteroid Bennu's chemical composition, questions such as “what is the origin of the universe.
Click here to learn more (NASA)
Click here to learn more about The Asteroid Mission
Click her to learn more about the experiment at the University of Edinburgh
Click here for BioRock Studentship