We want to examine and analyze the behaviour of foraminifera (small marine organisms which possess a calcium carbonate exoskeleton) under micro gravity. The shell was found to have several applications in biomimetics which could play a role in future long term space missions, such as the colonization of planet Mars. But first of all, our experiments will mainly provide basic knowledge: For how long will the foraminifera aboard the ISS? Will the perfectly built chamber structure of the calcium carbonate skeleton change under micro gravity? The knowledge gained will then serve as a basis for more profound space science.
The Experimental setup
The experiment will run autonomously in a 10x10x15 cm container (nanocube) for 30 days. The nanocube contains the organisms, but also all technical and electronic equipment. The foraminiera are kept in small chambers (flow cells) which will be constantly supplied with seawater. Microsensors will measure pH, oxygen and temperature in the water. The growth of the chambers will be analyzed via photo images.