MOMEDOS team at German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Cologne: Elke Rabbow, Petra Rettberg (Institute of Aerospace Medicine, DLR), and Tetyana Milojevic, Wolfram Weckwerth and Emanuel Ott (University of Vienna). Source: Universität Wien, Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie
With the project MOMEDOS (molecular mechanisms of Deinococcus radiodurans survivability in outer space) the University of Vienna together with several partners investigates the survivability of the extremophilic bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans in outer space. The bacteria have been successfully exposed at the Exposed Facility of the Japanese Experiment Module at the International Space Station in the Tanpopo mission. Deinococcus radiodurans bacteria can tolerate high dosis of radiation, long-term dehydration as well as oxidative stress so they are predetermined to travel in space. Within this cooperation, the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine, department of Gravitational Biology, will conduct experiments in simulated microgravity in clinostats. The department of Radiation Biology will expose the bacteria to simulated space conditions. The bacteria will be placed in a space-similar hardware and will experience the same conditions as their counterparts in space: vacuum, temperature and UV exposure. After that they return for tests to the team of MOMEDOS.
The scientists want to understand the molecular mechanisms behind the microbial survivability in space and would like to find an answer to the question how these little microbes can cope with the harsh and drastic environment of outer space.
The project MOMEDOS is funded by the Austrian Space Programme ASAP12 of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). It started in August 2016 and will be finished in July 2019. Project leader and coordinator is Dr. Tetyana Milojevic, Deputy Head of the Department of Biophysical Chemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry, University of Vienna. The project partners are: Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Science (Japan), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Vienna Metabolomics Centre (ViMe) at the University of Vienna.