Each KEU-RK Experiment Unit features two biomining reactors (BMR) capable of culturing microbial biofilms on the surface of a flat basalt slide. The two BMRs are totally independent and are equipped with reservoirs for chemicals and a culture chamber.
The culture chamber features a flexible, transparent and semipermeable membrane that allows both a gas exchange between the culture chamber and the external environment and the culture chamber to change its volume during the experiment. Moreover, the transparency of the semipermeable membrane allows the visual observation of the culture chamber without disassembling the unit.The scientific protocol is led by the KEU-RK electronics following a predefined timeline. After re-entry on Earth both the culture slide and the process fluids can be retrieved for analysis.
|Fluidic actuators type||PLUNGERS|
|Levels of Containment||(LoC) 1|
|Fluidic System Volume||ask for information|
|On-Board Electronic Controller||YES (with internal Clock & Timeline)|
|Experiment Unit size||≈ 83.5x42x30 mm|
|Experiment Unit mass||≈ 115 grams (fully assembled)|
|Fits into||KIC-SL-E3 class (1 LoC)|
|Compatible Controller||NOT REQUIRED (on-board controller)|
|QUALIFIED FOR||Progress – Soyuz – Dragon – Cygnus|
|QUALIFIED FOR||Manned Missions (ISS)|
The KEU-RK Experiment Unit is planned to be used to study the effect of microgravity on the growth, proliferation and mining performance of specialized microbes, as well as the interaction between microbes and rock in a liquid medium.
Each KEU-RK Experiment Unit (EU) is made of a semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, biologically inert. Cross contamination among the chambers is avoided due to proper sealing gaskets. The EU itself provides one Level of Containment (LoC) that is increased to two by using KIC-SL-E3 containers class. The experiment is fully autonomous; all the actions are electrically controlled by a predefined timeline uploaded into the on-board microcontroller. Housekeeping data are recorded during the mission and downloaded at re-entry.
The actions performed by the fluidic system are led by preloaded spring actuators activated by the control electronics. Such mechanism releases the plungers inward displacing the fluids (Activator or Fixative) contained into the chemicals reservoirs (Activator or Fixative reservoir) towards the Culture Chamber (CC).
|2019||BIOROCK||PI||Charles Cockell (University of Edimburgh)|