Abstract

Planetary Protection is a discipline that aims to prevent forward biological contamination of other celestial bodies from Earth sources that might interfere with the search and detection of extraterrestrial life on interplanetary missions, such as Mars lander missions. Before any Mars mission with planetary protection bioburden requirements can be launched, the Planetary Protection team at JPL collects samples from the spacecraft and performs the NASA Standard Assay to detect any aerobic, mesophilic microorganisms. My primary objective for the summer was to take 60 isolates from the MER rovers and create long-term glycerol stocks, one working stock, and perform DNA extraction and identification of those 60 isolates. I was also tasked with lyophilizing 30 Viking isolates for long-term storage and creating 3 classroom lessons for MERCCURI project, which aims to send microbial isolates to the International Space Station as a public outreach program. The MER isolates have been successfully sequenced with predominant isolates comprised of the Bacillus, Paenibacillus, Brevibacillus, and Sporosarcina genera. The identification and archiving of these isolates will be a crucial piece of future Mars and Europa life detection and sample return missions. Not only is it important to prepare isolates for long-term preservation for the sake of future missions but preserving these isolates has also enabled outreach opportunities.

Disciplines

Science and Mathematics Education

Mentor

James Benardnini

Lab site

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Funding Acknowledgement

This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU)., This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013 and Grant No. 0833353. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU)., This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013 and Grant No. 0934931. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU).

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URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/star/170

 

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