Garage Astrobiology

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Descripción del proyecto / Descripction of the project


Un laboratorio de garaje, similar en cierto modo a un laboratorio de astrobiología para examinar los efectos de los campos electromagnéticos y las ondas de radio en especies microbianas cultivadas provenientes del entorno urbano. El proyecto implica “cazar” y cultivar estos organismos, diseñando y construyendo un dispositivo en el que alojarlos, así como el desarrollo de estrategias para leer los datos de los organismos manipulados. Los organismos que se utilicen serán aquellos que sean relevantes en la investigación astrobiológica actual, como son los tardígrados, los nemátodos y, si es posible, la bacteria Vibrio fischeri

Documentación (gráficos, fotos y vídeos) / Documentation (graphics, pictures and videos)

Space Probes

NASA site for Pioneer 10 + 11

NASA site for Voyager 1 + 2 with links for access to science data


We are looking at biological organism that are living/surviving at extreme conditions, such as pH, radiation, temperatures etc.

from Halanych 2004

Tardigrades wikipedia:Tardigrada

[[Image:Tardigrade gabriel web.png|thumb|none|360px|Fig. 2. Adult morphology of H. dujardini. (A) The morphologically distinct midgut is discernible by the presence of algae (dark matter in center of tardigrade) in the lumen and by birefringent granules (some marked by yellow arrows). Black arrowhead indicates the muscular pharynx. Black arrows point to stylets. Eyespots are visible as black dots lateral to the stylets. (B) After feeding, embryos are produced parthenogenetically. Three oocytes are visible in the center of this tardigrade. (C) Tardigrade laying an embryo as it molts. The tardigrade will exit its cuticle through the mouth opening,leaving embryos to develop in the cast off exuvia. (D) Two individual adults imaged by scanning electron microscopy,[ ventral views. Adults are ∼ 500 μm long. (E) Phalloidin and DAPI-stained animal showing muscle and pharynx (green) and nuclei (blue).


A first video recorded using the DIY microscope showing a nemotode wiggling around. some lighting effect of the nematode disco...


Magnetotactic Bacteria

from Blakemore 1982[n]
from [n]
DNA sequence of Magnetospirillum magneticum AMB-1, taken from [n]



Kind of "documentary"

Screen Grabs



Data Sheets






Poster1.jpg a quick idea for use, abuse or refuse

Technologías y herramientas / Technologies and tools


DIY microscopy

how to build a simple webcam into a microscope

build a box and glue in a webcam, check focus distances etc...
the final webcam based microscope
fluorescein in well, blue LEDs in PDMS
copper coil around a small petri dish to apply magnetic fields

open source streaming

DIY bioelectronics

to facilitate the combination of electronics, such as magnets, sensors and LEDs and the cultivation of biological microorganisms we developed a number of prototypes by casting of a transparent silicone rubber.

PDMS preparation

  • mix the two components at a ratio of 10:1. a plastic cup is useful for a container.
Curing agent
  • stir and mix thouroughly
  • leave it sit for 2-3 hours to get rid of the bubbles if you have access to a vacuum you could do it in a few minutes.

PDMS curing

the PDMS will be processable for about 24 hours if you leave it at roomtemperature. for curing its est to put it in an oven at around 60 to 80° C for about 1 h at least. full curing should be achieved after 4 h.

assembling and casting of the bioelectronic device

we prepared all the electronic parts by soldering insulated copper wire to them and attaching a standard connector on the other end.

preparation of parts

first we glued the electronics to a plastic petridish, so they can be fixed and positioned. then a first layer of PDMS is cast on it and left at roomtemperature for 1-2 hours to get rid of bubbles coming out of the magnets. then its cured in the oven for 1 hour. if needed you can cast and cure a second layer on top of it to cover all the electronics.

after casting the second layer

then a well has to be cut or punched out in the middle to hold the microorganisms and the liquids. and finally a small drop of PDMS is poured into the well to seal it. you can allways fill the well again with pdms and cut out a new well.

microbubbles - tardigrade planets

Tardigrade Planet
punched wells and fluorescein

electonics, microcontrollers

electronics system

Magnetic Fields

What is a magnetic field

How much much is a gauss or a tesla.


Permanent magnets


Generall Info about Magnetomers in space exploration

see wikipedia [1]


Magnetomter used on Gallileo that crashed into Jupiter in 2003

Voyager1 & Voyager2

The magnetic field experiment carried onboard the Voyager 1 and 2 missions consists of dual low field (LFM) and high field magnetometer (HFM) systems. The dual systems provide greater reliability and, in the case of the LFMs, permit the separation of spacecraft magnetic fields from the ambient fields. Additional reliability is achieved through electronic redundancy. The wide dynamic ranges of +/- 0.5 G for the LFMs and +/- 20 G for the HFMs, low quantization uncertainty of +/- 0.002 nT in the most sensitive +/- 8 nT LFM range, low sensor RMS noise level of 0.006 nT, and use of data compaction schemes to optimize the experiment information rate all combine to permit the study of a broad spectrum of phenomena during the mission. Objectives include the study of planetary fields at Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; satellites of these planets; solar wind and satellite interactions with planetary fields; and the large-scale structure and microscale characteristics of the interplanetary magnetic field. The interstellar field may also be measured.

Space Science Reviews, 21 (1977) 235-257, Magnetic Field Experiment for Voyagers 1 and 2, K. W. Behannon, M. H. Acuna, L. F. Burlaga, R. P. Lepping, N. F. Ness, and F. M. Neubauer.

Collection of organisms

collection and cultivation of tardigrades... amongst other things. Baermann funnel technique for extracting nematodes from soil.

funnel technique for extracting nematodes from soil


Space probe Data-processing

NASA SPDF - COHOweb (which ones we are gonna use?)

we are gonna use Pioneer 10 + 11 and Voyager 1 + 2, ok?

This animation is a zoom-in of MESSENGER’s second Mercury flyby outbound magnetopause crossing, showing nine seconds of magnetic field data at high resolution sampled 20 times per second. Data were obtained at the point shown by the spacecraft in the lower left as it crossed the magnetopause (white trace). The strong magnetic field directed inward at the magnetopause (18:49:14 UT indicates that Mercury has the most intensely driven magnetosphere system ever observed in situ. Additional figures generated using MAG data show the magnetic field strengths (see PIA11404) and compare the interactions between Mercury’s magnetosphere and the solar wind (see PIA11408) during both of MESSENGER’s two Mercury flybys. Date Acquired: October 6, 2008 Instrument: Magnetometer (MAG)

VISUALISATION - Probe Data / Magnetic Fields

The Application is created in Max/MSP/Jitter. it reads the data from a text-file into series of values.
the data contains several information about the probe and the conditions in outer space.
(year, day (0-366), hours, probe's distance to the sun, probe's angle to the solar plane, magnetic field value (nT))
based on this information it creates a logic to apply the B-Field value on the 3 magnets in our setup.
the visual feedback and the values from the magnetic sensor are manipulating this logic as well.
the value from the space probes as kind of overall value together with the information we get from our experimentation setup
are creating a circus of dependencies.

Picture 15.jpg
Picture 16.jpg

MAX patch to download

Autor del proyecto / Project's Author

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Colaboradores / Collaborators

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Enlaces / Links

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