2018.P.1.7. Innovative deployable biological experiment for a compact automatized measurement of organisms’ development under cosmic radiations onboard a CubeSat in lunar orbit


Florent Clouvel (1)
Gilles Bailet (2)
Christophe O. Laux (2)

  1. CentraleSupélec, Université Paris Saclay, France
  2. Laboratoire EM2C, CNRS, Université Paris-Saclay, France




lunar missions, biological experiment, living organisms’ growth, cosmic rays


Due to the tenuous atmosphere of the Moon and its extremely low magnetic field, a manned mission on its surface or orbiting it cannot be shielded from the cosmic radiations and solar flares. This lack of protection results in a direct hazard to living cells. By measuring and corelating the growth rate of living organisms exposed to the space environment in the vicinity of the Moon, we could assess the effect of such ionizing radiations on the human health during extended missions on the Moon’s surface. To fulfil that mission, the 12U CubeSat SIRONA (34 x 22 x 22 cm^3 for 20 kg) will be used, led by the space centre of CentraleSupélec (CS^3). Several shielding configurations will also be used in this payload board to test protection strategies.

This work aims at proving the interest and feasibility of a compact and deployable biological board enabling such measurements. The board’s deployability is an efficient spring-based design giving full exposure to cosmic rays, thus avoiding the effect of SIRONA’s radiation shielding. The measurements of the organisms’ growth will be made through turbidimetry, to keep the design compact, reliable and needing a minimal amount of data to be downlinked to Earth. This experiment will enable the growth of different species of bacteria, yeasts or plants at the same time, as well as postponed starts, to make several measurements in different space weathers. Furthermore, it will be possible to add various types of shielding, to assess the different organisms’ growth, and thus to appraise for the most efficient protection strategies for future manned missions.

This biological board will first fly onboard Sirona, but its compacity and lightness will allow it to enhance the possibilities of future biologically-oriented CubeSat missions, including in other spatial environments than the Moon.


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