2009 Annual Science Report
NASA Ames Research Center Reporting | JUL 2008 – AUG 2009
Interplanetary Pioneers - Final CAN-3 Report
The possibility of life traveling from earth to beyond, and, in general, life traveling from planet to planet, has captured the public’s imagination for a century or more. We are now poised to assess this possibility with experimentation. In this project, we focus on halophiles – organisms that live in high salt environments – as potential earth life to survive space travel. Thus we have explored high UV and high salt environments, and have flown some of these organisms on European space missions. This year we also began to develop the use of high altitude ballooning to mimic travel beyond the surface of the earth.
The research began to focus on flying biological samples in high altitude balloons, as was proposed in the Ames Team CAN5 proposal. During this period, a short test flight with Stanford’s BioLaunch program was conducted with a tardigrade and filmed by National Geographic “Naked Science” for their episode on “Venus”. This work was discontinued after the CAN5 selection.
PROJECT INVESTIGATORS:Lynn Rothschild
PROJECT MEMBERS:Rocco Mancinelli
RELATED OBJECTIVES:Objective 5.3
Biochemical adaptation to extreme environments
Adaptation and evolution of life beyond Earth