Biosphere 3

The objective of this lab design is to support NASA’s interest in long-term, manned flight and potential colonization of the moon and planets. Plants have been the focus for an important part of bioregenerative life support systems in which food is produced and human waste recycled. To this end NASA is supporting the development of experimental equipment designed to grow plants on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. At the same time that engineers are designing equipment for plant growth, it may be possible to develop animal rearing techniques to produce alternative food sources in space. The ideal farm in space would be designed as a closed system using highly-productive algae instead of a plan-based system.


Phytoplankton ====>oxygen + food =====> Brine Shrimp
(Dunaliella salina) <==carbon dioxide ? ammonia <==(Artemia sp.)

(above) Adult Brine Shrimp to be used in Biosphere 3.

Materials and Methods

(above) 30 ml tube with 2 Artemia and concentrated algae.

1. Determination of Artemia and Dunaliella balance:
Use information found in literature information to determine the appropriate amount of Artemia to add to support the growth of Artemia (brine shrimp). Ideally the oxygen production by the algae to support the oxygen needs of the Artemia.  Also address brine shrimp feeding rates, nitrogen production, and more. What are some other important variables to be concerned about in this system?
A. Artemia (adult, 5-day old) metabolic rate: 221 pmol oxygen/individual *h
B. Dunaliella salina photosynthetic rate: 10 umol oxygen/ 10^7 cells * h

2. Select male and female (brooding) Artemia.
3. Bring tube volume to 30 ml autoclaved seawater or artificial seawater and seal lid with wax (closed system).

4. Monitor growth and viability of Artemia and Dunaliella.

Note: Think about what controls can be run along with the experimental set up described above.

An extension activity could be to measure the chlorophyll A (A670) before and after experiment to determine change in cell concentration.

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