Homepage / Technology / Why NASA is sending bacteria into the sky on balloons during the eclipse
Safe Uploading and Downloading Business Files How to Select the Best Board Management Software How to Organize the Work of a Company “gerçek Parayla En Iyi Slot Makineleri Ve Spor Bahisler Which is the Best Podcast For Stock Market Beginners? Virtual Data Room Facts How to Protect Confidential Documents for Boards Advantages of Online Meetings Business Issues to Consider When Choosing a Data Room Provider What Is a Data Room? Virtual Board Room Software Due Diligence Risk Factors How to Choose a Reliable Tool for Data Exchange test Users535352253 Board Software and VDR Programs Business Operations Management Software Keep Data Safe and Protect Your Business Data How to Conduct a Board Self-Assessment Uncomplicated Ways to Simplify Daily Business Transactions Due Diligence Blog Digital Data Rooms for the Netherlands The New Era of Business Software and Reporting What Types of Businesses Use VDR Software? Ma Analysis Mistakes The Corporate Governance Role Board Room Apps Secure Board Management With Secure Board Portals What Happens at Board of Directors Meetings? Board Room Software Review How to Prepare Board Rooms for Effective Board Meetings Board Room Software Boosts Performance and Communication Selecting a Secure Data Room Review Local Data Room Service Review How to Find the Best Virtual Data Room Review What to Look for in a Data Room uk Provider Document Storage and Distribution Software Everything About VDRs Corporate Software Advantages How to Choose a Virtual Data Room Provider The Most Secure Way to Transfer Files How to Manage Online Board Meetings Benefits Virtual Data Room Solutions – Must-Haves for M&A and Due Diligence Best Data Room Functions for the Different Types of Industries How to Choose a VDR Software Provider How to Choose an Online Board Portal The Benefits of a Boardroom Review Board Room Online Solutions – How to Get the Most Out of Your Board Meetings Why You Need a Board Room How a Board Room Blog Can Transform Your Business Choosing the Best Board Room Format How to Have Productive and Engaging Board Directors Meetings Choosing the Right Virtual Data Room How to Keep Safe Documents Storage Teaching Kids About Online Safety Avoid Costly Mistakes With Free Data Room Services Corporate Virtual Data Unlimited Data Room Software For Due Diligence Leading Business Software Features to Look For Secure Online Data Rooms Solutions How to Keep Share, Edit and Delete Your Data Safe Virtual Data Room Software Secrets for M&A Due Diligence What to Look For in Boardroom Providers Board of Directors Blog Posts How to Deliver Value at Your Board Meetings How to Have Effective Board Meetings Responsibilities of Board Members Deal Management – How to Effectively Manage a Complex Sales Pipeline Data Rooms For Mergers And Acquisitions How to Have a Successful Board Room Meeting Choosing a Board Room Service Provider What is a Board Room Service? Board Room Software Review – Choosing the Best Portal for Mother Board Meetings Why a Board Room Providers Review Is Important What Is a Board Room Review? Venture Software for VC Firms What Is an Assessment Report? The Importance of a Tech Audit Popular Business Applications What to Look For in a Data Room App What Are Business Applications? How to Choose a Virtual Data Room How to Plan a Data Room Review Coronavirus Guide What is a Virtual Data Room? What Is Data Science? What Is an Operating System? Turbotax Small Business Review How Online VDRs Are Used in M&A Deals Why Choose VDR Software? The Power of Business Software The Benefits of a Software Board Online Data Room Review The Importance of Tech Knowledge Improving Accuracy of Financial Data Online Business Records – How to Keep Your Online Business Records Accurate and Secure What is a Board Portal De? DealRoom Review – A Review of VDR Software M&A Due Diligence for Private Companies The Virtual Data Room Review


Why NASA is sending bacteria into the sky on balloons during the eclipse

As the Moon blocks the Sun’s light completely next week in a total solar eclipse, more than 50 high-altitude balloons in over 20 locations across the US will soar up to 100,000 feet in the sky. On board will be Raspberry Pi cameras, weather sensors, and modems to stream live eclipse footage. They’ll also have metal tags coated with very hardy bacteria, because NASA wants to know whether they will survive on Mars.

Every time we send a rover to the Red Planet, our own microorganisms latch on to them and hitch a ride across space. What happens to these bacteria once they’re on Mars? Do they mutate? Do they die? Or can they continue living undisturbed, colonizing worlds other than our own? To answer these questions we need to run experiments here on Earth, and the eclipse on August 21st provides the perfect opportunity.

The balloons are being sent up by teams of high school and college students from across the US as part of the Eclipse Ballooning Project, led by Angela Des Jardins of Montana State University. When Jim Greene, the director of planetary science at NASA, first heard that over 50 balloons were being flown to the stratosphere to live stream the eclipse, he couldn’t believe his ears. “I said, oh my god, that’s like being on Mars!” Greene tells The Verge. NASA couldn’t pass on the opportunity.

More from The Verge:
These next-generation space suits could allow astronauts to explore Mars
This app is certified in the EU as a form of birth control. Is the US next?
Google buys startup that turns smartphones into health diagnostic tools

The upper part of the Earth’s stratosphere — just above the ozone layer — is very much like the surface of Mars: it’s about minus 35 degrees Fahrenheit, with very rarified air, and it’s hammered by the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation. During the eclipse, conditions will get even more Mars-like: the temperatures will go down even further, and the Moon will buffer some of those ultraviolet rays to better resemble the radiation on the Red Planet. “It’s really quite an outstanding astrobiology and planetary protection experiment,” Greene says.

The bacteria that will fly to the edge of space is a particular strain called Paenibacillus xerothermodurans. It was first isolated from soil outside a spacecraft-assembly facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 1973, says Parag Vaishampayan, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. These bacteria form shields of spores that allow them to survive even when conditions turn deadly. It takes around 140 hours at 257 degrees Fahrenheit to kill 90 percent of these bacteria, Vaishampayan tells The Verge.

“These are some of the most resilient types of bacteria that we know of,” says David J. Smith, a researcher in the Space Biosciences Division at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

Last week, Smith finished mailing the bacteria — which are not dangerous for people or the environment — to the student groups. (Only 34 of the balloons will carry the bacteria.) The microorganisms are dried onto the surface of two metal cards the size of a dog tag. One card will fly to the stratosphere, while one will remain on the ground to function as a control group. On eclipse day, the balloons will launch every 15 minutes or so from states that are in the path of the Moon’s shadow, Des Jardins says. They’ll fly for about two hours, reaching the stratosphere and eventually popping because of the pressure drop. Once they’re back on the ground (a parachute will slow down descent), the students will track them by GPS, recover the metal tags, and mail them back to NASA.

That’s when Vaishampayan and Smith will get to analyze how many bacteria have died, and whether their DNA has changed in any way. If some of them survive the flight, that might mean that these bacteria may have already survived a trip to the Red Planet as hitchhikers on a Mars rover. We don’t know for sure whether Paenibacillus xerothermodurans is actually on any Mars rover. (It was found outside the spacecraft-assembly facility, not on the spacecraft themselves, Vaishampayan says.) But even if it’s not, learning more about these resilient bacteria could help us understand how similar ones could behave on Mars, and help NASA better understand the risk of infecting other worlds.

After all, we send million-dollar spacecraft to other planets and moons to search for alien life, so it makes sense that we’d want to make sure these places are protected from Earth’s germs. Pushing organisms to the known limits of life can also help NASA find that life. If we know that resilient bacteria can’t withstand certain conditions, then we won’t look for life when those same conditions are found on other planets, Smith says.

NASA has conducted very few experiments with high-altitude balloons, and none with this particular strain of bacteria. So flying over 30 balloons at once, under such perfect Mars-like conditions that won’t be possible to replicate in the lab, is an amazing opportunity. “I don’t think it’s ever been done in terms of a coordinated astrobiology experiment happening across the entire continental United States on the same day,” Smith says. “This is spatial coverage that one could never dream of in other circumstances.”

Greene hopes the experiment will also inspire the next generation of astrobiologists and planetary protection officers. He got into science when he was in high school and had the chance to use an observatory telescope to observe the Sun. Taking part in the Eclipse Ballooning Project might do the same for the students flying the balloons. “You never know what turns kids on [to science],” Green says. “You never know how excited they can be.”

Source: Tech CNBC
Why NASA is sending bacteria into the sky on balloons during the eclipse

Comments are closed.