Crew 132 Biology Report for 1/1/2014
Danielle YoungSmith and Usha Lingappa
Today we performed microscopy on the seven MDRS soil isolates we managed to grow in the lab. We have two organisms from the
surface soil (S1 and S2), three from a depth of 10 cm (10.1, 10.2, and 10.3), and two from 20 cm below the surface (20.1 and 20.2),
where we buried our experimental algae and bacillus samples. We found that two samples contained long, stringy organisms (S2 and
10.1); while three isolates (S1, 10.2, and 10.3) were miniscule, round and very difficult to see with the microscope available to us;
and both isolates from 20 cm below the surface were rod-like in appearance. All of these observations are based on 40X
magnification. We cannot determine what these species might be with the equipment in the MDRS lab; however, we are bringing soil
samples back to Earth with us to test in our NASA Ames lab and get them sequenced.
We also analyzed our first experimental set of cultures from the three depths. We found that there was still no visible growth on the
Chlamydomonas plates, even with the added soil samples, and that only the plates that were buried at 20 cm below the surface had
growth on them within the first 24 hours of removal from the field and replacement in warmer temperatures. Of these cultures at 20
cm, we did not see anything out of the ordinary in terms of growth patterns for the JW Bacillus 2 and 7, strains that we brought from
Earth. We will continue monitoring their growth tomorrow.
Finally, we are in the process of compiling a list of “Martian Bio Lab Techniques” that we have used—both successfully and
unsuccessfully—in our time here in the lab.
Charles H. Parrish II
This Earth new year marked the first planting of the Martian growing season. The first seeds of basil
were planted by me, and the rest of Crew 132 also participated in planting and watering an assemblage
of onion, cilantro, and crass in the Zen Room of the GreenHab.
As of today, the hydroponics system is also up-and-running, sans plants. After cementing the PVC pipes
and mounts together, the top-drip irrigation system is assembled and functions swimmingly. The outflow
is ample, such that future GreenHab Officers will have to spend very little time monitoring the
The planting, transplant, and harvest schedules are being planned by me and the GreenHab Coordinator,
and Commander Orenstein will share this schedule with future crews.