Biology Report: 28 December 2013
Dani YoungSmith & Usha Lingappa, Crew 132
We cleaned the stereoscope and the microscope, and both are functioning well. We don’t have immersion oil, so our
maximum magnification is 40X.
We have been successful in growing new cultures of the two JW Mohave bacillus strains that we brought here from Earth using a
growth medium containing the necessary nutrients to support bacteria. We have been able to characterize both of these isolates
morphologically under the microscope.
On 25 December, we collected soil samples from the base of peak 518500mE 4251500mN at three different depths and
inoculated plates containing the same media with these samples. After 72 hours, we saw growth of a variety of organisms (likely
including both bacteria and fungi, and possibly even archaea) and are attempting to isolate some of them so that we can
characterize them individually. We picked 2 colonies from the surface sample, 3 colonies from the 10cm sample, and 2 from the
Unlike our Bacillus cultures, we have encountered more problems in getting our algae to grow on plates in the lab. The liquid
cultures are growing normally as they would on Earth, with some creative techniques to keep them at relatively constant
temperatures as close as possible to terran room temperature (ideal for stable growth). Microscopy analysis also shows that these
cells are healthy and uncontaminated. Growth rates of Chlamydomonas on solid medium are inherently slower than in liquid
cultures; however, our plated cultures have been almost if not entirely stagnant in growth, qualitatively. This may be a result of
our samples being too dilute, our plates being insufficiently sterile to host the algae, or the irregular growing environment. Today
we made a new, more concentrated plate and have left it in the incubator to grow overnight and will assess its progress in the
morning along with that of our soil isolates before the planned EVA mission to deposit our plates in the soil.