Concert Report

1317 words - 5 pages

Tardigrades are microscopic eight-legged animals that can withstand extreme environments. They are commonly found in semi-terrestrial environments everywhere, and are easily found on moss and lichens. Cryptobiosis is a truly deathlike state and is used to reversibly suspend their metabolism. Anhydrobiosis is a form of cryptobiosis initiated by desiccation and is an almost complete loss of body water that the animal can stay in for an extended period of time. (Lindahl, and Balser ) In order for tardigrades to return to its normal activity it requires a film of water. Tardigrades have levels of X-ray radiation 1000x the lethal human dose. (Bordenstein) This experiment was created to determine the effects of cosmic radiation on survival and fecundity of adult tardigrades and embryos. Using the BIOPAN facility they were able to conduct extraterrestrial experiments in low earth orbit as well as laboratory experiments.Microcosmos experiment used three different types of tardigrades including R. coronifer, R. oberhauseri, and E. testudo. The experiment was set up to where there are nine cells with six of each species in one cell with a total of eighteen species per cell. The first three cells are Plexiglas with a flexible 0.04mm UV filter that allows 10% transmission below 390 nanometers; this is full cosmic radiation exposure. The second set of three cells is also made of Plexiglas but use 1mm flouroelastomer, which is also known as Viton, for medium radiation exposure. For the last set of three cells a stainless steel casing with Viton is used for low cosmic radiation exposure. The controls for this experiment are kept in Milano and Baikonur which make a total of 162 specimens used. Mosses are boiled prior to assembly to create a sterilized environment and then are placed in all of the cells with enough water to just cover the moss. Then the different tardigrades, nematodes, and rotifers are placed in the respective cells to be desiccated for a week. The humidity level started at 98% and decreased throughout the week. After they are sent off to be in orbit for twelve days they were rehydrated and survival rates were made at the University of Milano. R. coronifer had the lowest survival rate, E. testudo was found in all of the experimental cells, and R. oberhauseri had higher rates than R. coronifer but less than E. testudo. All of the species that were found returned to their normal lives within 35 minutes. The controls had results that were similar to the flight specimens. (Reinhardt et al. 90-97)Filter experiment was the same as microcosmos but only used 11-37 R. coronifer per cell. The substrate used to desiccate was Whatman-3 filters. Controls at Milano, Baikonur, and additional three control replicates in Copenhagen, there was a total of 600 tardigrades used for the filter experiment. The specimens were placed on the Whatman-3 filters with distilled water in an embryo dish. The water was then eventually removed with a Pasteur pipette. Then...

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