Submission Title

Project ALIEN

Presenter Information

Rebecca McCallin: Biology

Madelyn Hoying - Team Lead, Physics and Biomedical Engineering

Alexander Evans: Biomedical Engineering

Matthew Nestler: Biomedical Engineering

Karli Rae Sutton: Biomedical Engineering

Garett Craig: Biomedical Engineering, Nursing

Lucia Secaida: Biomedical Engineering

Alexander Guy: Biomedical Engineering

Rachel Fernandez: Biomedical Engineering, Nursing

Amanda Trusiak: Biomedical Engineering

Paige Aley: Chemistry

Ingabire Gakwerere: Cybersecurity Studies

Nina Dorfner: Biomedical Engineering

Maria Mosbacher: Education

Mary Flavin: Media Studies, Journalism

Selvin Hernandez: Biomedical Engineering

Audrey Steen: Education, English

Benjamin Kazimer: Physics, Biomedical Engineering

Abstract

Project ALIEN is a comprehensive plan to send humans to Mars to look for life on the Martian surface while exploring the viability and adaptability of terrestrial microbes in Martian atmospheric conditions. ALIEN will use a ballistic capture trajectory to get to Mars and stay in aerostationary orbit for a 30-day surface mission, during which two surface crewmembers will perform a variety of experiments to achieve the mission’s goals of Martian microbial discovery within brines of the Gale Crater and terrestrial microbe adaptability and viability to Martian conditions. Experimentation is based on the presumption that Martian microbes are metabolically similar to terrestrial extremophiles.

Adaptability will be tested using terrestrial alkaliphiles B. Arsenicoselenatis, B. Selenitireducens and Alkalilimnicola Ehrlichii which thrive in environments of high salinity and anoxic conditions, and respire anaerobically in the presence of arsenic, selenium, and nitrogen compounds. During travel to Mars, microbes will experience steady growth condition changes to replicate Martian environmental conditions. Microbes will then be introduced to Martian soil and conditions and supplemented with respiratory facilitators which will be used to locate potential Martian microbes by indicating which electron donors are most effective for respiration. Samples of Martian brine will be exposed to arsenic and selenium compounds to trigger a respiratory response in Martian microbes. Those that initiate a response will be cryopreserved for transport back to Earth for further analysis.

After the surface mission, the two surface crewmembers will reunite with mission control in orbit around Mars and return to Earth via ballistic capture trajectory.

School

Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences; Rangos School of Health Sciences; McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts; School of Nursing; School of Education

Advisor

Dr. Melikhan Tanyeri

Submission Type

Paper

Share

COinS
 

Project ALIEN

Project ALIEN is a comprehensive plan to send humans to Mars to look for life on the Martian surface while exploring the viability and adaptability of terrestrial microbes in Martian atmospheric conditions. ALIEN will use a ballistic capture trajectory to get to Mars and stay in aerostationary orbit for a 30-day surface mission, during which two surface crewmembers will perform a variety of experiments to achieve the mission’s goals of Martian microbial discovery within brines of the Gale Crater and terrestrial microbe adaptability and viability to Martian conditions. Experimentation is based on the presumption that Martian microbes are metabolically similar to terrestrial extremophiles.

Adaptability will be tested using terrestrial alkaliphiles B. Arsenicoselenatis, B. Selenitireducens and Alkalilimnicola Ehrlichii which thrive in environments of high salinity and anoxic conditions, and respire anaerobically in the presence of arsenic, selenium, and nitrogen compounds. During travel to Mars, microbes will experience steady growth condition changes to replicate Martian environmental conditions. Microbes will then be introduced to Martian soil and conditions and supplemented with respiratory facilitators which will be used to locate potential Martian microbes by indicating which electron donors are most effective for respiration. Samples of Martian brine will be exposed to arsenic and selenium compounds to trigger a respiratory response in Martian microbes. Those that initiate a response will be cryopreserved for transport back to Earth for further analysis.

After the surface mission, the two surface crewmembers will reunite with mission control in orbit around Mars and return to Earth via ballistic capture trajectory.

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.