BIOWYSE: and a river runs through space…
Microbiological contamination can be attenuated and controlled but never eliminated. Tests on ground and in space have shown that humid areas and wet systems are the most prone to biocontamination. What does BIOWYSE (Biocontamination Integrated cOntrol of Wet sYstems for Space Exploration) have to do with all this?
If we want to explore space, we will have to develop fast, reliable and safe methods for preventing, monitoring and controlling biocontamination. These methods have to be automated, simple and lightweight, while requiring as few consumables as possible. To address this topic, the BIOWYSE project was launched in January 2016, as part of Horizon 2020 (H2020), the European research and innovation framework program. It is a compact, integrated solution (hardware & software) designed to prevent, monitor and mitigate the risk of microbial contamination in water systems and humid surfaces, not only on the International Space Station (ISS), but also in future human space exploration missions.
BIOWYSE project partners
BIOWYSE is being conducted by an international consortium of partners who contribute a complementary mix of strengths, including the European Science Foundation (France), Thales Alenia Space, SMAT S.p.A., the Water Research Institute (IRSA-CNR) and the University of Florence (Italy), GL Biocontrol (France), AquiSense Technologies (Great Britain), Liewenthal Electronics (Estonia) and A-ETC (Czech Republic).
BIOWYSE includes innovative prevention, monitoring and mitigation modules, thanks to technical support from Thales Alenia Space, which has integrated all these modules into a compact system. Thales Alenia Space has tested a portable prototype at its facilities in Turin, and conducted field testing at selected locations, including SMAT kiosks in Turin and the “Grotta del Vento” in Tuscany, to demonstrate the prototype’s ability to withstand transportation in difficult areas and operate under actual conditions. By the end of the year, the research team and Thales Alenia Space will design a flight demonstrator to test gravity-dependent technologies in the microgravity environment. Stay tuned and have a drink on us, H2O of course.
The BIOWYSE project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, under the terms of the subsidy agreement 687447.
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