ASGSB 2003 Annual Meeting Abstracts


POST-ACCIDENT RECOVERY OF HARDWARE AND MOSS CULTURES FROM STS-107. Volker D. Kern1,3, David W. Reed2, and Fred D. Sack3. 1Lockheed Martin Space Operations, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035 USA, 2Bionetics, Mail Code BIO-3, Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899 USA, and 3Plant Biology, Ohio State University, 1735 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210 USA

   In a follow-up to our STS-87 moss experiment, 99 cultures of the moss Ceratodon purpureus were launched on January 16, 2003, and incubated under microgravity conditions for up to 15 days onboard the orbiter Columbia during the STS-107 flight.  Cultures were chemically fixed in space by the crew.  As all data were to be recovered post-flight, it was assumed that no results would be available following the break up of Columbia on February 1, 2003. However, during the subsequent weeks seven out of eight BRIC-LED canisters were recovered on the ground in Texas.  Each canister housed six Petri dishes containing 1 or 3 moss cultures each.  When these canisters were opened in late April at Kennedy Space Center, 86 out of 87 moss cultures were recovered.  Many but not all cultures were too fragmented to discern growth patterns. However, thousands of well-fixed moss apical cells were found and documented by microscopy. Data retrieved from an internal temperature logger indicated that the heat rose off-scale (>37 C) shortly after Columbia broke apart.  Canisters probably experienced intense but transient heat because some polycarbonate fused to the aluminum canister wall.  Interior temperatures were sufficient to melt the agarose (~ 88 C), but none of the 41 Petri dishes was heat damaged.  Initial results from the examination of culture and cell morphology will be presented.

(Supported by NASA: NAG10-0179)


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