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tag:typepad.com,2003:post-6a00d8341bf7f753ef01b8d07097f5970c: Earth-Stratosphere Experiment May Prevent Microbial Contamination of Mars by Robotic Spacecraft
The Daily Galaxy

Direct link Earth-Stratosphere Experiment May Prevent Microbial Contamination of Mars by Robotic Spacecraft

24 Sep 2014, 15:10 UTC NASA's Exposing Microorganisms in the Stratosphere (E-MIST) experiment launched to the Earth's stratosphere on the exterior of a giant scientific balloon gondola at about 8 a.m. MST on Aug. 24 from Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. Soaring 125,000 feet above the Earth, E-MIST was exposed to the upper atmosphere during a 5-hour journey over the desert, to understand how spore-forming bacteria, commonly-found in spacecraft assembly facilities, can survive. "Like Mars, the Earth's stratosphere is extremely dry, frozen, irradiated and hypobaric," said David J. Smith, Ph.D., E-MIST principal investigator in Kennedy Space Center's Engineering Directorate. "Results from E-MIST may contribute to development of procedures for preventing the microbial contamination of Mars by robotic spacecraft exploration." E-MIST was contained in a special carrier that was conceived and built at Kennedy's Prototype Development Laboratory. The 80-pound structure features four doors that rotate to expose up to 10 experimental samples each for a predetermined period of time. The structure also features a control board for autonomous operations and customizable avionics, power, environmental controls and sensors. A team of more than 20 design, avionics, structures, analysis, science, logistics and safety engineers worked on the carrier, including Anthony Bharrat, avionics lead; Prital Thakrar, design lead and student ...

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