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1104-ScienceReport

Science Report
11/04/2014
Cyprien Verseux

Plant culture trays have been filled with either Mars regolith simulant (50 grams for radishes, 
5 for microgreen lettuces) or an equivalent volume of gardening soil (positive control). 48 
replicates were prepared for each condition of the project, except for those involving cooked 
regolith simulant (see below). All plant cultures will be started tomorrow.

As the building of the solar cooker was delayed (see report from Christiane, our Crew Engineer) 
and given that cultures must start as soon as possible to yield results during our rotation, we 
decided to use the following alternative. Instead of boiling regolith in water in the solar 
cooker and evaporating water afterwards, regolith was cooked for one hour in a pressure cooker 
with twice its weight of distilled water. The liquid phase was then put in a container and the 
wet regolith was spread on a large aluminum dish, under the mural heater, to dry overnight. 
Replicates for this condition will be watered with the collected aqueous phase until all of the 
latter has been used. The solar cooker should be functional by tomorrow evening. Even though 
not used to cook regolith, it will be run to test its potential for relieving the need for 
electricity, within various processes where heating is needed.

Cyanobacteria have been used to inoculate regolith-based medium yesterday and started their 
slow growth on the lab biology bench (in a secondary container), close to the Hab's heater. As 
even there temperatures are most of the time below the strain's optimal temperature, I will 
look at the GreenHab's temperatures in the coming days and, if they appear more suitable, I 
would like to move cyanobacteria there to increase growth rates. An email have been send to 
some members of the RST to ask for approval - provided that rigorous measures are taken to 
prevent any contamination.