Fukuoka Institute of Technology
where did the creature come from? We are working on experiments in outer space to explore the origin of life.
“Tanpopo 4” to return from the International Space Station
Fukuoka Institute of Technology is working on “Astrobiology”, the study of the origin, evolution, propagation and future of life in space. Professor Hajime Mita of the Department of Life and
Environmental Chemistry serves as the principal investigator of the “Post-Tanpopo” space experiment project, which is being conducted on the International Space Station “Kibo” by a group of Japanese astrobiologists. increase. “Tanpopo 4”, which was launched in February last year (2022), left the International Space Station and returned to Earth this month (January). “Tanpopo 4”, which has been conducting experiments to expose amino acids and peptides to outer space, how are organisms and organic compounds synthesized in the outer space environment? Various analyzes will be carried out after the return in a project that may yield clues. Stay tuned for future research. [Image 1
Astrobiology experiment “Tanpopo” project to approach the origin of life on Earth
How did life on Earth originate in ancient times? Did it originate from another planet? Is it possible that there is life in other universes than Earth? In order to explore the possibility of living organisms moving in space and the stability and changes in space of organic matter that is the source of life, samples were exposed to space at the International Space Station’s Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo”. It is done. Since 2015, many researchers from Japan and abroad have participated in this experiment. Professor Hajime Mita of the Department of Bioenvironmental Chemistry at this university
participated from “Tanpopo”, and was the research representative for “Tanpopo 3”, “Tanpopo 4” and “Tanpopo 5”. I am serving as
For 440 days until January 2022, we exposed various samples such as moss spores and cyanobacteria in space and returned to Earth. Each research institute is proceeding with the analysis of the returned samples, mainly for the purpose of collecting basic data for the origin and mobility of life in the solar system and when humans advance to extraterrestrials such as Mars.
It will be launched in February 2022, and amino acids and peptides will be exposed in outer space. It is scheduled to depart the space station this month (January 2023), return to Earth, and return to hand around the end of March. We investigate the stability and changes in space of amino acids and peptides, which are the origin of life, and search for clues that lead to the origin of life on Earth. Professor Mita, who is in charge of the analysis of organic matter, has great expectations for future research results.
[Video 2: https://prtimes.jp/api/movieim.php?url=www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnQDsA3TQSA]
The source of life “amino acids” → Can proteins be made in space? [Image 3
The body of an organism (eg, human) is about 60% water and 20% protein. Proteins are made up of amino acids linked together. So far, about 100 kinds of amino acids have been reported to be detected in meteorites. In the “Tanpopo 4” project, we will expose a thin film of amino acids to outer space, analyze the samples brought back, and investigate whether or not peptides with amino acids bound together can be generated in space by ultraviolet rays. If peptides can be produced in space, the possibility of evolving proteins in space will expand. We aim to obtain new knowledge about the origin of life. [Image 4
Fukuoka Institute of Technology Life and Environmental Chemistry Mita Laboratory [Image 6
We are conducting research to elucidate the relationship between biological activity and the environment on the time scale of space and earth history, especially the origin of life, the origin of proteins and enzymes, and the dynamics and ecosystem of organic matter in extreme environments. We also conduct research on biotechnology, such as the use of biopolymers.
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