International workshop
«Use of Dormancy in Space Researches»

12-13 June 2009 | Zoological Institute RAS, St. Petersburg, Russia

Scientific committee

Anatoly Grigoriev, Presidium RAS, Chairman
Oleg Pugachev (ZIN RAS, Russia)
Natalia Novikova (IMBP RAS, Russia)
Takeshi Okuda (IABS, Japan)
Jiang-Shiou Hwang (OI, Taiwan)

Organizing committee

Victor Alekseev (ZIN RAS, Russia), Chairman
Vladimir Suchev (IMBP RAS, Russia)
Margarita Levinskih (IMBP RAS, Russia)
Natalie Sukhih (SPbSU, Russia), Secretary
Roman Khalikov (ZIN RAS, Russia), Technical assitance

Supported by

Zoological Institute RAS
St. Petersburg Association of Scientists and Scholars
RFBR (grant 09-04-06042g)

Woprkshop aims

This workshop is mainly devoted to bring together scietific teams dealing with study of the dormancy phenomenon in space. Dormancy can be a reason for unpredictable wide spreading of the Earth organisms among other planets and vice versa. This so strong possibility to survive in dormancy state in terrestrial experiments was experimentally found recently (Russian program BIORISK) not only in unicellular organism but in more high organized like Crustaceans, Insects, Plant seeds etc. Most of the species studied were able to survive in open space untill 16 months that dramatically chenge our understanding for Earrth organism to travel in space with shuttle and other apparatus. Besides the abovementioned unpleasant chance to discover finally life outside the Earth that in fact belongs to Earth biosphere this also can be dangerous for the maternal planet and crew on the planetary station due to unpredictable mutation and evolution of these organisms in new harsh environment. In fact, study on dormancy in philogenetically wide range of taxa should be regarded as a prior aim for exobiology as interplanetary quarantine securing must be prepared for all possible ways of penetration of resting forms of life into illicit directions.

Dormancy phenomenon protects a great many animals and plants in harsh environmental conditions within a special resting phases of life cycle lasting from months up to hundred thousand years. This phenomenon is quite perspective for space researches from extraterrestrial life searching to interplanetary quarantine within space missions. Five major research programs aimed on study dormancy phenomenon for exobiology purposes and creation of new biotechnologies have been started by the Russian Space Agency at ISS and supported by a set of national and international projects from RFBR-Japan и RFBR-TAIWAN in 2005-2009 (05-04-90588-ННС_а; 07-04-91232-ЯФ_а; 07-04-08245-з; 06-04-58683-з; 07-04-10003-к; 07-04-00006-а; 09-04-92108-ЯФ_а).

There are several problems of space researches close related to dormancy phenomenon. The problem of bacterial and fungi contaminations has been studied well on the example of the orbital space complex MIR that spent at orbit more than 14 years. In the very special environment like spacecraft due to very fast selection forced by space conditions some new not known at Earth associations of these organisms can be created. Microbial and fungal vital activity is resulted in both medical and technical problems and risks caused by not only fast and serious degradation decorative materials containing organic matters like plasmas, wood, tissue etc but also steel and glass destruction. Some of those like electric isolation destruction become a reason of the failure of the equipment. Resting stages of bacteria and other primitive organisms if fact exist every where and are transported with air very easy. It seems like impossible almost prevent their penetration to spacecraft.

Search for life in the Universe should be mentioned also. In the nearest perspective searching for life outside the Earth will be conducted on sky objects (planets, meteorites, comets etc) in conditions where life in our meaning of this is almost impossible or are able in narrow boundary between active phase and cryprobiosis. Environment extremes like low temperature, radiation, desiccation, pressure, low oxygen etc can be overcome by some organisms The Earth inhabiting special biotopes that let us hope on finding of life at least at planets like Mars The Russian mission FOBOS-ground-ANABIOS with a set of species in dormant state are going to Mars orbit in October 2009. This project will test directly a possibility for live organism to cross the distance between two planets outside shuttle.

Additional hope comes from organism with life cycle including prerogative dormancy. Surviving of resting stages (algae, protozoan, bacteria and fungi cysts) in Antarctic and Arctic ice shields now is estimated as hundreds thousand years. Such possibility found in Earth organism that actually are not selected for so long cryptobiosis, can be even better developed in other planet creatures where environmental conditions are more rigid and provide a possibility for active life for short time combining with very long period of harsh conditions. Selected by such special environment organisms could be a good candidate also for interplanetary traveling with meteorites, comets and other space carriages.

To discover life in criptobiotic forms at other planets like Mars some special treatments can be necessary so another technologies based on knowledge of the dormancy phenomenon should be realized. Aa an essential part of such technology one can suggest a set of life activated signals similar to those known in Earth diapausing organisms.

During the meeting the main results of the Moscow held Congress «Human in Space», 7-11 June 2009 are planned to be discussed too.

The workshop major purpose will be creation of new teams and international projects to study dormancy in space.

Workshop Program

Workshop Program (PDF, 105 Kb)

Workshop materials

N. Abramson and V. Alekseev (PowerPoint, 526 Kb)

V. Alekseev (PowerPoint, 940 Kb)

V. Anis'kov (PowerPoint, 62 Mb)

V. Krylov (PowerPoint, 483 Kb)

M. Levinskih (PowerPoint, 4 Mb)

A. Makrushin, V. Alekseev and Jiang-Shiou Hwang (PowerPoint, 153 Kb)

N. Novikova (PowerPoint, 2 Mb)

J. Podlipaeva, V. Alekseev and S. Skarlato (PowerPoint, 156 Kb)

V. Sychev (PowerPoint, 3 Mb)

V. Tzetlin (PowerPoint, 3 Mb)

E. Vinogradova (PowerPoint, 960 Kb)

Photo gallery

Elena Vinogradova (ZIN RAS) Vladimir Sychev (IMBP RAS) Victor Alekseev (ZIN RAS) Victor Alekseev (ZIN RAS) Victor Alekseev (ZIN RAS) Natalie Novikova (IMBP RAS) Natalie Novikova (IMBP RAS) Natalie Abramson (ZIN RAS) Natalie Abramson (ZIN RAS) Natalie Abramson (ZIN RAS) Vladimir Tzetlin (IKI RAS) Vladimir Tzetlin (IKI RAS) Victor Anis'kov Julia Podlipaeva (INC RAS) Julia Podlipaeva (INC RAS) Julia Podlipaeva (INC RAS) Oleg Gusev (IABS, Japan) Oleg Gusev (IABS, Japan) Oleg Gusev (IABS, Japan) Margarita Levinskih (IMBP RAS)