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Deep Space Radiation Genomics (DSRG)

Science Objectives

The Deep Space Radiation Genomics (DSRG) [LJ(DAI1] investigation will pioneer scientific discovery by correlating which yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes provide cells with a higher probability of survival with the types and doses of radiation experienced beyond Earth’s protective magnetosphere.

Status

Scheduled to launch as part of Biological Experiment-01 (BioExpt-01) aboard the Artemis I Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle for lunar orbit.

PLASMA. BioServe’s Peristaltic Laboratory for Automated Science with Multi-generations (PLASM). PLASM is an autonomous hardware that enables biological research in deep space and low-Earth orbit (LEO).

Experiment Description

The goal of this investigation is to identify the metabolic and genomic pathways affected by microgravity, space radiation, and a combination thereof. These observations will then be used to inform pathway-specific and gene-specific approaches designed to ameliorate the detrimental effects of long-term radiation exposure.

Space Applications

Understanding which genes provide cells with an increased probability of survival in the microgravity and radiation environment experienced in deep space, as well as which DNA repair mechanisms are most effective under these conditions, may provide a baseline for future personalized medicine approaches to mitigate the risks of long-term human space exploration.

Earth Applications

Life on Earth has evolved with gravity as a constant. Studying cells and organisms in microgravity can unmask molecular processes otherwise unobservable on Earth.

Learning more about the impact of radiation on DNA and interrogating DNA repair mechanisms under this unique microgravity+radiation environment may enable us to make new discoveries regarding these processes, which also affect each of us on Earth. This comes from the fact that every day, each of our cells repairs thousands of DNA lesions, and serious health consequences may arise when these repairs do not go well and completely.

Group of 6 men and 1 woman standing with their arms around each other;  a whiteboard filled with writing is in the background and a blue mat with small clear components sits on a table in front.

UVG Team. Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) DSRG Team. Some of the PLASM components were developed by undergraduate students at UVG led by Prof. Andrés Viau and Rodrigo Aragon. From left to right: Esteban Herbruger, Iñaki Alvarado, Prof. Aragon, Prof. Viau, Diego Aguirre, Eileen Meda, and Diego Hernandez.

Three men wearing face masks and lavender colored latex gloves pose for a photo in a lab with a science component on the counter in front of them.

EVT and KSC. PLASM (bottom right) immediately before closing up for the Experiment Verification Test (EVT) at NASA Kennedy Space Center. From left to right: Tobias Niederwieser, Ph.D., Luis Zea, PhD, and Corey Nislow, PhD.

Group photo of 7 men and 2 women, 5 standing in the back and 4 kneeling in the front.  The background is a painted mural of a spacecraft above rocky terrain with a blue background.  In front of the group is a science component on a small table.

PLASM Team. PLASM development team and BioServe Space Technologies (University of Colorado Boulder). From left to right: Luis Zea, PhD, Tobias Niederwieser, PhD, Mike Grusin, Alex Hoehn, PhD, Louis Stodieck, PhD, Jim Wright, Stefanie Countryman, Pamela Flores, and Ian Peck.

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