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The PUR Experiment on the EXPOSE-R facility: biological dosimetry of solar extraterrestrial UV radiation

  • A. Bérces (a1), M. Egyeki (a1), A. Fekete (a1), G. Horneck (a2), G. Kovács (a3), C. Panitz (a2) and Gy. Rontó (a4)...

The aim of our experiment Phage and Uracil Response was to extend the use of bacteriophage T7 and uracil biological dosimeters for measuring the biologically effective ultraviolet (UV) dose in the harsh extraterrestrial radiation conditions. The biological detectors were exposed in vacuum-tightly cases in the European Space Agency (ESA) astrobiological exposure facility attached to the external platform of Zvezda (EXPOSE-R). EXPOSE-R took off to the International Space Station (ISS) in November 2008 and was installed on the External platform of the Russian module Zvezda of the ISS in March 2009. Our goal was to determine the dose–effect relation for the formation of photoproducts (i.e. damage to phage DNA and uracil, respectively). The extraterrestrial solar UV radiation ranges over the whole spectrum from vacuum-UV (λ<200 nm) to UVA (315 nm<λ<400 nm), which causes photolesions (photoproducts) in the nucleic acids/their components either by photoionization or excitation. However, these wavelengths cause not only photolesions but in a wavelength-dependent efficiency the reversion of some photolesions, too. Our biological detectors measured in situ conditions the resultant of both reactions induced by the extraterrestrial UV radiation. From this aspect the role of the photoreversion in the extension of the biological UV dosimetry are discussed.

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International Journal of Astrobiology
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