This project explores the possibility of Panspermia and the impact of radiation on living creatures. As part of this study, we want to study the rehydration of the tardigrades in the space. We are aiming to do this experiment on a nano satellite as we are part of the UMSATS team. Sending images to earth from a nano satellite is a great problem because of the power budget limitations. This limitation doesn't allow us to send a whole image to the earth. Thus, we need to do onboard image analysis in order to determine if the tardigrades are alive or not in space after rehydration from cryptobiotic state. However, the natural habitat of tardigrades is composed of mosses and lichens which are small plants with debris in them (i.e soil, dead material) and that makes the image analysis harder. The goal of this project is find a way to differentiate the tardigrades Milnesium tardigradum in their small chamber from all the other debris from their food and waste by genetically engineering them and creating a transgenic tardigrade that transcribes eGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein which is a highly resistant protein) so that only tardigrades are seen in their environment. eGFP has an emission peak at 488 nm which none of the other life forms or debris will have, when light at that wavelength is shown, the protein will emit green fluorescent light and we will detect the tardigrades. Our main goal is to connect genetics to space and to know more about how this critters can survive in space when rehydrated. We will evaluate their survivability in space and we hope to be able to capture images of their movements in the chamber and we hope to be able to determine whether they are alive or not by our image processing algorithm.
License: Educational Community License, Version 2.0 (ECL-2.0)
Source Code/Project URL: http://umsats.ca/
Green Fluorescent Protein as a transgenic marker in mice - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1046/j.1440-169X.1995.t01-2-00012.x/asset/j.1440-169X.1995.t01-2-00012.x.pdf;jsessionid=75BA8EAA7FE86163CC9E3F0F03334CC9.f03t02?v=1&t=hu8qvj2d&s=a8ee48c6470304c
Tardigrade from UMSATS at UofM - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPoO-Hm21e0