The Open UniversitySkip to content

Experimental methods for studying microbial survival in extraterrestrial environments

Olsson-Francis, Karen and Cockell, Charles (2010). Experimental methods for studying microbial survival in extraterrestrial environments. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 80(1) pp. 1–13.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Microorganisms can be used as model systems for studying biological responses to extraterrestrial conditions; however, the methods for studying their response are extremely challenging. Since the first high altitude microbiological experiment in 1935 a large number of facilities have been developed for short- and long-term microbial exposure experiments. Examples are the BIOPAN facility, used for short-term exposure, and the EXPOSE facility aboard the International Space Station, used for long-term exposure. Furthermore, simulation facilities have been developed to conduct microbiological experiments in the laboratory environment. A large number of microorganisms have been used for exposure experiments; these include pure cultures and microbial communities. Analyses of these experiments have involved both culture-dependent and independent methods. This review highlights and discusses the facilities available for microbiology experiments, both in space and in simulation environments. A description of the microorganisms and the techniques used to analyse survival is included. Finally we discuss the implications of microbiological studies for future missions and for space applications.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2009 Elsevier B.V.
ISSN: 0167-7012
Keywords: extraterrestrial environments; extremophiles; microbial response
Academic Unit/Department: Science > Environment, Earth and Ecosystems
Science > Physical Sciences
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)
Item ID: 22024
Depositing User: Karen Olsson-Francis
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2010 15:29
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2016 13:52
Share this page:


Scopus Citations

▼ Automated document suggestions from open access sources

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340