Aaron Berliner is the Science PI on a recently funded NASA Ames SIF project to investigate Mars habitability. He will talk about the development of the "extreme conditions" Crucible environmental chamber. The project is a collaboration between NASA Ames Research Center, UC Berkeley, and Autodesk to build a system that will allow for biology experiments under extreme conditions as a step towards space synthetic biology.
Aaron will talk about how the chamber will be able to carry out repeatable and reliable biological experiments under conditions sufficiently analogous to the harsh environment. He will address the following perceived scientific needs:
(1) How to reliably replicate Martian conditions
(2) How to source and filter biology of interest
(3) How to characterize and engineer useful biological phenomena under Martian conditions
(4) How to scale experiments sufficient to characterize enough biology to form a basis for continued engineering.
The Crucible chamber will meet these scientific needs by utilizing state-of-the-art additive manufacturing technology, cutting-edge software architecture, and internet-of-things capable devices to produce a smaller, cheaper, extensible, distributable, scalable system for experimental space biology.