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Robotics
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Author and Affiliation:
Rothschild, Lynn J.(NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Abstract: Earth's upper atmosphere is an extreme environment: dry, cold, and irradiated. It is unknown whether our aerobiosphere is limited to the transport of life, or there exist organisms that grow and reproduce while airborne (aerophiles); the microenvironments of suspended particles may harbor life at otherwise uninhabited altitudes[2]. The existence of aerophiles would significantly expand the range of planets considered candidates for life by, for example, including the cooler clouds of a hot Venus-like planet. The X project is an effort to engineer a robotic exploration and biosampling payload for a comprehensive survey of Earth's aerobiology. While many one-shot samples have been retrieved from above 15 km, their results are primarily qualitative; variations in method confound comparisons, leaving such major gaps in our knowledge of aerobiology as quantification of populations at different strata and relative species counts[1]. These challenges and X's preliminary solutions are explicated below. X's primary balloon payload is undergoing a series of calibrations before beginning flights in Spring 2012. A suborbital launch is currently planned for Summer 2012. A series of ground samples taken in Winter 2011 is being used to establish baseline counts and identify likely background contaminants.
Publication Date: Apr 19, 2012
Document ID:
20120015364
(Acquired Nov 02, 2012)
Subject Category: EARTH RESOURCES AND REMOTE SENSING
Report/Patent Number: ARC-E-DAA-TN4903
Document Type: Oral/Visual Presentation
Meeting Information: AbSiCon: Astrobiology Science Conference 2012; 16-20 Apr. 2012; Atlanta, GA; United States
Meeting Sponsor: NASA; Washington, DC, United States
Financial Sponsor: NASA Ames Research Center; Moffett Field, CA, United States
Organization Source: NASA Ames Research Center; Moffett Field, CA, United States
Description: 2p; In English
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: No Copyright
NASA Terms: AEROBIOLOGY; UPPER ATMOSPHERE; EARTH ATMOSPHERE; ROBOTICS; AIR SAMPLING; PARTICULATE SAMPLING; CONTAMINANTS; EXOBIOLOGY; ORGANISMS; DETECTION; AIR FLOW; HIGH ALTITUDE ENVIRONMENTS; SUBORBITAL FLIGHT; STERILIZATION
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