Petra Rettberg

Petra Rettberg
German Aerospace Center (DLR) | DLR · Institute of Aerospace Medicine

Dr. rer. nat.

About

590
Publications
86,259
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6,236
Citations
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January 1993 - present
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Publications

Publications (590)
Article
Full-text available
The identification of reliable biomarkers, such as amino acids, is key for the search of extraterrestrial life. A large number of microorganisms metabolize, synthesize, take up and excrete amino acids as part of the amino acid metabolism during aerobic and/or anaerobic respiration or in fermentation. In this work, we investigated whether the anaero...
Article
Mars analogue environments are some of the most extreme locations on Earth. Their unique combination of multiples extremes (e.g. high salinity, anoxia and low nutrient availability) make them valuable sources for finding new polyextremophilic microbes, and for exploring the limits of life. Mars, especially at its surface, is still considered to be...
Chapter
EURO—CARES (European Curation of Astromaterials Returned from the Exploration of Space) was a European Commission funded project under the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program and ran between January 2015 and December 2017. The core project team was made up of academic and industry experts from 14 different organisations from the United Kin...
Conference Paper
Planetary Protection is at the heart of space exploration. The international standard for planetary protection has been developed by the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) which provides a forum for international consultation and has formulated a Planetary Protection Policy with associated requirements. The COSPAR Panel on Planetary Protection (P...
Conference Paper
Understanding the extent to which non-fastidious pathogenic bacteria can survive in extraterrestrial conditions will help to improve astronaut safety. Despite stringent decontamination protocols, terrestrial microorganisms were previously found to travel on the bodies of astronauts, on spaceships and equipment. This might enable the microorganisms...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As space agencies plan to expand human presence in space and to settle on the Moon first and Mars later, developing strategies to achieve this goal in a sustainable way is necessary. These include in situ resource utilization (ISRU) and recovering of materials by waste recycling (1). Microbe based technologies may be pivotal to the success of human...
Conference Paper
Mars analogues environments are some of the most extreme locations on Earth. Their unique combination of multiple extremes (e.g. high salinity, anoxia, and low nutrient availability) make them a valuable source of new polyextremophilic microbes in general, and for exploring the limits of life. These are seen as vital sources of information for Astr...
Article
The COSPAR Panel on Planetary Protection met in Closed Session on 9 April 2021 to discuss matters concerning lunar exploration.
Chapter
Sample return missions are among the most exciting space missions, providing both scientifically unique information and an unparalleled mechanism for the inspiring the public. Returned samples allow us to make critical ground truth measurements that can calibrate remote sensing measurements from spacecraft. Some scientific studies can only be done...
Article
Full-text available
Radiation of ionizing or non-ionizing nature has harmful effects on cellular components like DNA as radiation can compromise its proper integrity. To cope with damages caused by external stimuli including radiation, within living cells, several fast and efficient repair mechanisms have evolved. Previous studies addressing organismic radiation toler...
Article
Dried biofilms of Chroococcidiopsis sp. CCMEE 029 were revived after a 672-day exposure to space vacuum outside the International Space Station during the EXPOSE-R2 space mission. After retrieval, they were air-dried stored for 3.5 years. Space vacuum reduced cell viability and increased DNA damage compared to air-dried storage for 6 years under la...
Conference Paper
The EDEN ISS greenhouse, integrated in two joined containers, is a confined mobile test facility in Antarctica for the development and optimization of new plant cultivation techniques for future space programs. The EDEN ISS greenhouse was used successfully from February to November 2018 for fresh food production for the overwintering crew at the An...
Conference Paper
The International Space Station (ISS) is a unique, completely confined habitat for the human crew and co-inhabiting microorganisms. In the experiment EXTREMOPHILES we investigated the microbial bioburden and biodiversity from three surface and air sampling events aboard the ISS during increments 51 and 52 (2017) with respect to: i) microbial source...
Article
Full-text available
As humans explore and settle in space, they will need to mine elements to support industries such as manufacturing and construction. In preparation for the establishment of permanent human settlements across the Solar System, we conducted the ESA BioRock experiment on board the International Space Station to investigate whether biological mining co...
Conference Paper
Understanding the extent to which non-fastidious pathogenic bacteria can survive in extraterrestrial conditions will help to guarantee the safety of astronauts. Despite stringent decontamination protocols, terrestrial microorganisms were previously found to travel on the bodies of astronauts, on spaceships and equipment. This might create the possi...
Article
In the coming decade, as we prepare for the first mission to Mars with a human crew, we have a continuing obligation to protect the integrity of scientific investigations at Mars. In particular, it is unlikely that the search for life on Mars will be completed by the time the first crew systems arrive at the martian surface. Indeed, some consider t...
Conference Paper
Ignicoccus hospitalis is an extremophilic Archaea that has demonstrated an extraordinary high tolerance to ionizing radiation. The cells remain viable after exposure to X-ray doses up to 12 kGy, metabolically active after up to 118 kGy and completely repair DNA damages within one hour. This is surprising since ionizing radiation is not present in i...
Conference Paper
Planetary Protection is an international concern and responsibility. The international standard for planetary protection has been developed by the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) which provides a forum for international consultation and has formulated a Planetary Protection Policy with associated requirements that are put in place after examin...
Article
Full-text available
Background Extreme terrestrial, analogue environments are widely used models to study the limits of life and to infer habitability of extraterrestrial settings. In contrast to Earth’s ecosystems, potential extraterrestrial biotopes are usually characterized by a lack of oxygen. Methods In the MASE project (Mars Analogues for Space Exploration), we...
Conference Paper
The EDEN ISS greenhouse is a confined mobile test facility in Antarctica for the development and optimization of new plant cultivation techniques for future space programs. The EDEN ISS greenhouse was in operation from February to November 2018 for fresh food production for the overwintering crew at the German Antarctic Neumayer III station. During...
Conference Paper
The search for past or present life in our solar system is a major driver for space exploration. So far, Earth is the only known planet which harbors life. Our understanding of habitability is based on our knowledge about the physical and chemical limits of life on Earth and directs the search for extraterrestrial life in space missions. Habitable...
Chapter
Full-text available
The survival limits of the desert cyanobacterium Chroococcidiopsis were challenged by rewetting dried biofilms and dried biofilms exposed to 1.5 × 10³ kJ/m² of a Mars-like UV, after 7 years of air-dried storage. PCR-stop assays revealed the presence of DNA lesions in dried biofilms and an increased accumulation in dried-UV-irradiated biofilms. Diff...
Chapter
The halophilic archaeon Halococcus morrhuae and the biofilm‐forming bacterium Halomonas muralis were exposed to space conditions during the EXPOSE‐R2 mission. Evidence for both strains co‐existing on a mural in the castle Herberstein (Austria) has been found and here we tested the theory that the biofilm produced by Hlm. muralis may act as a protec...
Article
Full-text available
Microorganisms are employed to mine economically important elements from rocks, including the rare earth elements (REEs), used in electronic industries and alloy production. We carried out a mining experiment on the International Space Station to test hypotheses on the bioleaching of REEs from basaltic rock in microgravity and simulated Mars and Ea...
Conference Paper
Antimicrobial surfaces are a well suited technology to prevent and reduce microbial loads in sensitive areas, where high humidity and temperature levels are causing increased microbial loads. These can endanger human health, health of organisms e.g. in bioregenerative life-support systems as well as technical equipment. Antimicrobial surfaces are p...
Article
Full-text available
Background The extraordinarily resistant bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans withstands harsh environmental conditions present in outer space. Deinococcus radiodurans was exposed for 1 year outside the International Space Station within Tanpopo orbital mission to investigate microbial survival and space travel. In addition, a ground-based simulation...
Article
Full-text available
Microorganisms perform countless tasks on Earth and they are expected to be essential for human space exploration. Despite the interest in the responses of bacteria to space conditions, the findings on the effects of microgravity have been contradictory, while the effects of Martian gravity are nearly unknown. We performed the ESA BioRock experimen...
Conference Paper
Ignicoccus hospitalis es un organismo extremófilo que pertenece al dominio Archaea. Se caracteriza por crecer bajo condiciones muy específicas, puesto que es un microbio hipertermófilo, estrictamente anaerobio y quimiolitoautótrofo; metaboliza azufre elemental por reducción y utiliza CO2 como fuente de carbono, fijándolo por medio de una ruta única...
Conference Paper
The deep-sea anoxic brines of the Red Sea include some of the most extreme locations on Earth (1). Their unique combination of high salinity, high-pressure, anoxia, and varying levels of hydrothermal input make them a valuable source of new polyextremophilic microbes and for exploring the limits of life. They have recently been proposed as relevant...
Conference Paper
Auf der Erde ist das Leben allgegenwärtig. Ein Vielzahl von Organismen lebt in Gegenden, die aus menschlicher Sicht extrem sind. Die Isolation und Charakterisierung solcher Extremophile dient zur Abschätzung der Habitabilität von Planeten und Monden und emöglicht die gezielte Suche nach extraterrestrischem Leben. Neben den Eismonden des äußeren Son...
Article
Preamble: Noting that COSPAR has concerned itself with questions of biological contamination and spaceflight since its very inception, and noting that Article IX of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (also known as the UN Outer Space Tr...
Article
Full-text available
In this chapter, the key technologies and the instrumentation required for the subsurface exploration of ocean worlds are discussed. The focus is laid on Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus because they have the highest potential for such missions in the near future. The exploration of their oceans requires landing on the surface, pen...
Article
The last decade has witnessed a renewed interest in space exploration. Public and private institutions are investing considerable effort toward the direct exploration of the Moon and Mars, as well as more distant bodies in the solar system. Both automated and human-crewed spacecraft are being considered in these efforts. As inevitable fellow travel...
Article
Full-text available
The HabitAbility: Brines, Irradiation and Temperature (HABIT) instrument will be part of the ExoMars 2020 mission (ESA/Roscosmos) and will be the first European In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) instrument capable of producing liquid water on Mars. HABIT is composed by two modules: Environmental Package (EnvPack) and Brine Observation Transition...
Chapter
Full-text available
Five bacterial (facultatively) anaerobic strains, namely Buttiauxella sp. MASE-IM-9, Clostridium sp. MASE-IM-4, Halanaerobium sp. MASE-BB-1, Trichococcus sp. MASE-IM-5, and Yersinia intermedia MASE-LG-1 isolated from different extreme natural environments were subjected to Mars relevant environmental stress factors in the laboratory under controlle...
Article
Full-text available
The EDEN ISS greenhouse, integrated in two joined containers, is a confined mobile test facility in Antarctica for the development and optimization of new plant cultivation techniques for future space programs. The EDEN ISS greenhouse was used successfully from February to November 2018 for fresh food production for the overwintering crew at the An...
Conference Paper
Hypersaline environments are subjected to dynamic environmental conditions which can result in precipitation of salt crystals, including halite. Microbial communities living in salt-saturated environments get trapped inside halite, including members of the three domains of life, but primarily haloarchaea. Entombment is a strategy for avoiding the h...
Article
Five bacterial (facultatively) anaerobic strains, namely Buttiauxella sp. MASE-IM-9, Clostridium sp. MASE-IM-4, Halanaerobium sp. MASE-BB-1, Trichococcus sp. MASE-IM-5, and Yersinia intermedia MASE-LG-1 isolated from different extreme natural environments were subjected to Mars relevant environmental stress factors in the laboratory under controlle...
Article
Full-text available
The icy satellites of Jupiter and Saturn are perhaps the most promising places in the Solar System regarding habitability. However, the potential habitable environments are hidden underneath km-thick ice shells. The discovery of Enceladus’ plume by the Cassini mission has provided vital clues in our understanding of the processes occurring within t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The International Space Station (ISS) is a unique, completely confined habitat for the human crew and co-inhabiting microorganisms. In the experiment EXTREMOPHILES we investigated the microbial bioburden and biodiversity from three surface and air sampling events aboard the ISS during increments 51 and 52 (2017) with respect to: i) microbial source...
Conference Paper
In Kooperation mit dem Deutschen Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) und dem Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie gibt die Stadtbibliothek Köln einen Einblick in die aktuellen Projekte der Kölner und Bonner Weltraumforschung.
Article
Full-text available
The Planetary Protection of Outer Solar System (PPOSS) project tackled the science, technology and policy-making components related to biological and organic contamination of outer solar system bodies, in particular icy moons. This intensive three-year program has provided an international platform and forum where science, industry and policy actor...
Article
Full-text available
The Planetary Protection of Outer Solar System (PPOSS) project tackled the science, technology and policy-making components related to biological and organic contamination of outer solar system bodies, in particular icy moons. This intensive three-year program has provided an international platform and forum where science, industry and policy actor...
Conference Paper
Plant cultivation in large-scale closed environments is challenging and several key technologies necessary for space-based plant production are not yet space-qualified or remain in early stages of development. The EDEN ISS project (EC Horizon 2020 RIA, grant no. 636501, https://eden-iss.net/) developed and demonstrated higher plant cultivation tech...
Poster
The cold, arid, remotely located and perennially ice covered environment of the Antarctic ice sheet is the most hostile place on Earth. It has long been considered an analogue to how life might persist in the frozen landscape of the major Astrobiological targets of our solar system such as Mars or the Jupiter’s ice-covered moon Europa. In the frame...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The HABIT (HabitAbility, Brines, Irradiation and Temperature) instrument, will be the first Swedish Instrument that will land on the surface of Mars as a part of the ExoMars 2020 mission (ESA/IKI). It is also the first European ISRU (In-situ Resource Utilization) instrument capable of producing liquid water on Mars extracting atmospheric water vapo...
Conference Paper
Antimicrobial surfaces are a highly promising approach in preventing/ reducing microbial loads in sensitive areas. There, high humidity and temperature levels are causing microbial contamination - endangering human health, health of organisms e.g. in bioregenerative life-support systems as well as technical equipment. Antimicrobial surfaces are ben...
Article
Full-text available
The survival limits of the desert cyanobacterium Chroococcidiopsis were challenged by rewetting dried biofilms and dried biofilms exposed to 1.5 × 103 kJ/m2 of a Mars-like UV, after 7 years of air-dried storage. PCR-stop assays revealed the presence of DNA lesions in dried biofilms and an increased accumulation in dried-UV-irradiated biofilms. Diff...
Article
Full-text available
One of the main objectives for astrobiology is to unravel and explore the habitability of environments beyond Earth, paying special attention to Mars. If the combined environmental stress factors on Mars are compatible with life or if they were less harsh in the past, to investigate the traces of past or present life is critical to understand its p...
Article
Full-text available
The International Space Station (ISS) is a unique habitat for humans and microorganisms. Here, we report the results of the ISS experiment EXTREMOPHILES, including the analysis of microbial communities from several areas aboard at three time points. We assess microbial diversity, distribution, functional capacity and resistance profile using a comb...
Conference Paper
With increasing evidence of the presence of liquid water in the outer Solar System, the number of potentialy habitable environments has increased and, in consequence, the issue of contaminating other solar system bodies has become more important and relevant. Within the current Planetary Protection framework, the challenges to prevent the unwanted...
Conference Paper
The EDEN-ISS container is a mobile test facility in Antarctica used to investigate new plant cultivation techniques for future space programs. Manned missions to Mars are already planned and still need a reliable food production system. The EDEN-ISS container was used from January 2018 to December 2018 for fresh food production for the overwinterin...
Article
The Planetary Society's Phobos Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment (Phobos LIFE) flew in the sample return capsule of the Russian Federal Space Agency's Phobos Grunt mission and was to have been a test of one aspect of the hypothesis that life can move between nearby planets within ejected rocks. Although the Phobos Grunt mission failed, we pre...
Article
EXPOSE facilities were ESA multiuser facilities mounted outside the International Space Station for astrobiology experiments. Between 2008 and 2016, three series of experiments were conducted involving chemical and biological samples to test their resistance and evolution in the space environment in low Earth orbit. In this Astrobiology special col...
Article
The exploration and use of outer space is the province of all humankind. This principle in Article I of the UN Outer Space Treaty guarantees the freedom to explore outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, without discrimination, and to carry out scientific investigations. This freedom, however, comes with a responsibility describ...
Conference Paper
Introduction: On Earth extreme environments are inhabited by a variety of microorganisms adapted to their specific habitat. Such extremophiles are useful model organisms to study the potential survivability of Earth organisms on Mars. Especially the Martian surface is characterised by deleterious environmental parameters, e.g. very low water activi...
Conference Paper
Introduction: One definition of life is a “selfsustaining system capable of Darwinian evolution”. Thus, the ability to measure evolution is highly relevant to the search for life beyond Earth (Neveu et al. 2018). We previously discussed potential space experiments to measure evolution using nanopore sequencing in a satellite, on/in the Internationa...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
EURO-CARES (European Curation of Astromaterials Returned from the Exploration of Space) was a three-year multinational project (2015–2017) funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 research programme. The objective of EURO-CARES was to create a roadmap for the implementation of a European Extra-terrestrial Sample Curation Facility (ESCF). Th...
Article
Full-text available
The European Space Agency's EXPOSE facility, located on the outside of the International Space Station, was used to investigate the survival of cell aggregates of a cyanobacterium, Gloeocapsa sp., in space and simulated martian conditions for 531 days in low Earth orbit as part of the "Biofilm Organisms Surfing Space" (BOSS) experiments. Postflight...
Book
An international consensus policy to prevent the biological cross-contamination of planetary bodies exists and is maintained by the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) of the International Council for Science, which is consultative to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Currently, COSPAR’s planetary protection policy...
Article
Full-text available
The polyextremophile, gram-positive bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans can withstand harsh conditions of real and simulated outer space environment, e.g., UV and ionizing radiation. A long-term space exposure of D. radiodurans has been performed in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in frames of the Tanpopo orbital mission aiming to investigate the possibility o...