This project will
determine the long-term effects the altered gravitational and magnetic fields experienced
during a trip and stay on Mars will have on terrestrial organisms.
setup combines clinostats and magnetic coil systems to model the altered
gravitational and magnetic forces (respectively) experienced on earth, mars,
and space. We are culturing the nematode C.
elegans in these chambers over the multiple (~300) generations a mission to
Mars would likely last (up to three years). The fast generational time of C. elegans (three days) permits the
efficient assessment of transgenerational effects.
To test for cumulative effects,
every generation we sample animals from each experimental condition
and evaluate the modified gravity and magnetic field’s combined, and individual
effects on them.
Several undergraduate and high school students are carrying this research and already generated puzzling results (stay tuned for the first publication).