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Title: BioSentinel  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Astrobiology, Chandra Wickramasinghe, Andrew Siemion, Yamato 000593, Life on Mars
Collection: Astrobiology, Cubesats, Dna Repair, NASA Space Probes, Space Exposure Experiments, Space-Flown Life
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Mission type Astrobiology exposure
and space medicine
Operator NASA
Mission duration 18 months (planned)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type CubeSat
Bus 6U
Manufacturer NASA Ames Research Center
BOL mass 14 kg (31 lb)[1]
Dimensions 10×20×30 cm
Power 30 W max (solar panels)
Start of mission
Launch date September 2018 (planned)
Rocket SLS EM-1
Orbital parameters
Reference system heliocentric
Band X band

BioSentinel is a planned low-cost CubeSat spacecraft on an astrobiology mission that will use yeast to detect, measure, and compare the impact of deep space radiation on DNA repair over long time beyond low-Earth orbit.[1][2]

Selected in 2013 for a 2018 launch, the spacecraft will operate in the deep space radiation environment throughout its 18-month mission.[3] This will help scientists understand the

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ricco, Tony (2014). "BioSentinel: DNA Damage-and-Repair Experiment Beyond Low Earth Orbit" (PDF). NASA Ames Research Center. Retrieved 2015-05-25. 
  2. ^ a b c Zolfagharifard, Ellie (3 April 2015). "An asteroid hunter, lunar flashlight and DNA kit: Nasa reveals experiments its mega rocket will carry on its first test flight". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 2015-05-24. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Caldwell, Sonja (5 August 2014). "Home Page of BioSentinel". NASA. Retrieved 2015-05-25. 
  4. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (8 April 2015). "NASA adding to list of CubeSats flying on first SLS mission". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2015-05-25. 
  5. ^ BioSentinel Presentation 2014 (PDF)
  6. ^ Krebs, Gunter Dirk (2015). "BioSentinel". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2015-05-25. 
  7. ^ Krebs, Gunter Dirk (13 April 2015). "NEA-Scout". Retrieved 2015-05-13. 


Astrobiology missions

See also

The spacecraft is being developed by NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Johnson Space Center, Loma Linda University Medical Center, and the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.[1]

Of the 6 Units, 4U will hold the science payload including a radiation dosimeter and a dedicated 3-color spectrometer for each well; 1U will house the ADCS (Attitude Determination and Control Subsystem) and 1U will likely house the cold gas micro-propulsion required for detumble, attitude control and propulsion, but the engineers might opt for the possible use of solar sailing for propulsion.[1] Electric power will be generated by deployable solar panels rated at 30W, and telecommunications will rely on X band.[1]

The Biosentinel spacecraft will consist on a 6U CubeSat bus format, with external dimensions of 10×20×30 cm and a mass of about 14 kg (31 lb) [1][3][6][7] At launch, BioSentinel resides within the second stage on the launch vehicle from which it is deployed to a lunar flyby trajectory and into a Earth-trailing heliocentric orbit.

Representative heliocentric orbit of the BioSentinel spacecraft


Biological measurements will be compared to data provided by onboard radiation sensors and dosimeters. Additionally, three identical BioSentinel payloads will be developed for comparison reference, one of them will be exposed at low Earth orbit outside the International Space Station (ISS), where there is a comparatively low-radiation environment due to Earth's magnetic field protecting the space station.[1][3]

After completing the Moon flyby and spacecraft checkout, the science mission phase will begin with the wetting of the first set of yeast-containing wells with specialized media.[3] Multiple sets of wells will be activated at different time points over the 18-month mission. One reserve set of wells will be activated in the occurrence of a solar particle event (SPE). Approximately, a 4 to 5 krad total ionizing dose is anticipated.[1][5] Payload science data and spacecraft telemetry will be stored on board and then downloaded to the ground.[3]

The BioSentinel biosensor uses the budding specifically engineered yeast strains and nutrient selection strategies that ensure that only cells that have can repair their DSBs will grow in specialized media. Therefore, culture growth and metabolic activity of yeast cells directly indicate a successful DSB-and-repair event.[1][3]

Single-strand break (SSB) and double-strand break (DSB) DNA damage

Biological science

The primary objective of BioSentinel is to develop a biosensor using a simple model organism (low Earth orbit (LEO). While progress has been made with simulations, no terrestrial laboratory can duplicate the unique space radiation environment.[3]


BioSentinel is one of eleven low-cost low Earth orbit).[2][4]



  • Background 1
  • Objective 2
  • Biological science 3
  • Spacecraft 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6


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