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  • 1.
    Betts, Bruce H
    et al.
    USA.
    Warmflash, David
    USA.
    Fraze, Raymond E
    USA.
    Friedman, Louis
    USA.
    Vorobyova, Elena
    Russia.
    Lilburn, Timothy G
    USA.
    Smith, Amy
    USA.
    Rettberg, Petra
    USA.
    Jönsson, K. Ingemar
    Kristianstad University, Faculty of Natural Science, Research environment Man & Biosphere Health (MABH). Kristianstad University, Faculty of Natural Science, Avdelningen för miljö- och biovetenskap.
    Ciftcioglu, Neva
    USA.
    Fox, George E
    USA.
    Svitek, Tomas
    USA.
    Kirschvinck, Joseph L
    USA & Japan.
    Moeller, Ralf
    Germany.
    Wassmann, Marko
    Germany.
    Berger, Thomas
    Germany.
    Phobos LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment).2019In: Astrobiology, ISSN 1531-1074, E-ISSN 1557-8070Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Planetary Society's Phobos Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment (Phobos LIFE) flew in the sample return capsule of the Russian Federal Space Agency's Phobos Grunt mission and was to have been a test of one aspect of the hypothesis that life can move between nearby planets within ejected rocks. Although the Phobos Grunt mission failed, we present here the scientific and engineering design and motivation of the Phobos LIFE experiment to assist with the scientific and engineering design of similar future experiments. Phobos LIFE flew selected organisms in a simulated meteoroid. The 34-month voyage would have been the first such test to occur in the high-radiation environment outside the protection of Earth's magnetosphere for more than a few days. The patented Phobos LIFE "biomodule" is an 88 g cylinder consisting of a titanium outer shell, several types of redundant seals, and 31 individual Delrin sample containers. Phobos LIFE contained 10 different organisms, representing all three domains of life, and one soil sample. The organisms are all very well characterized, most with sequenced genomes. Most are extremophiles, and most have flown in low Earth orbit. Upon return from space, the health and characteristics of organisms were to have been compared with controls that remained on Earth and have not yet been opened.

  • 2.
    Jönsson, K. Ingemar
    Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Naturvetenskap. Kristianstad University, Research environment Man & Biosphere Health (MABH).
    Tardigrades as a potential model organism in space research2007In: Astrobiology, ISSN 1531-1074, E-ISSN 1557-8070, Vol. 7, no 5, p. 757-766Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Exposure of living organisms to open space requires a high level of tolerance to desiccation, cold, and radiation. Among animals, only anhydrobiotic species can fulfill these requirements. The invertebrate phylum Tardigrada includes many anhydrobiotic species, which are adapted to survive in very dry or cold environmental conditions. As a likely by-product of the adaptations for desiccation and freezing, tardigrades also show a very high tolerance to a number of other, unnatural conditions, including exposure to ionizing radiation. This makes tardigrades an interesting candidate for experimental exposure to open space. This paper reviews the tolerances that make tardigrades suitable for astrobiological studies and the reported radiation tolerance in other anhydrobiotic animals. Several studies have shown that tardigrades can survive gamma-irradiation well above 1 kilogray, and desiccated and hydrated (active) tardigrades respond similarly to irradiation. Thus, tolerance is not restricted to the dry anhydrobiotic state, and I discuss the possible involvement of an efficient, but yet undocumented, mechanism for DNA repair. Other anhydrobiotic animals (Artemia, Polypedium), when dessicated, show a higher tolerance to gamma-irradiation than hydrated animals, possibly due to the presence of high levels of the protective disaccharide trehalose in the dry state. Tardigrades and other anhydrobiotic animals provide a unique opportunity to study the effects of space exposure on metabolically inactive but vital metazoans.

  • 3.
    Jönsson, K. Ingemar
    et al.
    Kristianstad University, Research environment Man & Biosphere Health (MABH). Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Naturvetenskap.
    Wojcik, Andrzej
    Stockholms universitet.
    Tolerance to X-rays and Heavy Ions (Fe, He) in the Tardigrade Richtersius coronifer and the Bdelloid Rotifer Mniobia russeola2017In: Astrobiology, ISSN 1531-1074, E-ISSN 1557-8070, Vol. 17, no 2, p. 163-167Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this study was to analyze tolerance to heavy ions in desiccated animals of the eutardigrade Richtersius coronifer and the bdelloid rotifer Mniobia russeola within the STARLIFE project. Both species were exposed to iron (Fe) and helium (He) ions at the Heavy Ion Medical Accelerator in Chiba (HIMAC) in Chiba, Japan, and to X-rays at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne, Germany. Results show no effect of Fe and He on viability up to 7 days post-rehydration in both R. coronifer and M. russeola, while X-rays tended to reduce viability in R. coronifer at the highest doses. Mean egg production rate tended to decline with higher doses in R. coronifer for all radiation types, but the pattern was not statistically confirmed. In M. russeola, there was no such tendency for a dose response in egg production rate. These results confirm the previously reported high tolerance to high linear energy transfer (LET) radiation in tardigrades and show for the first time that bdelloid rotifers are also very tolerant to high-LET radiation. These animal phyla represent the most desiccation- and radiation-tolerant animals on Earth and provide excellent eukaryotic models for astrobiological research. 

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