It is possible that the cosmic dust floating throughout space contains either actual microorganisms, or the organic compounds that form them. Japan's Tanpopo project is an experiment in astrobiology which will see a special collector attached to the International Space Station that will capture such cosmic dust. The Tanpopo project is being conducted by a number of universities and research institutions including the University of Aizu, and in particular faculty members and student advisees from our CAIST/ARC-Space and Image Processing Course are taking part, along with Student Cooperative Class Project (SCCP) participants. The team is developing software that will pick out cosmic dust particles using image processing based on micrographs from the collector made up of an ultra-low density materials called Silica aerogel. The team is also developing a device that will cut off the collectors that contain the cosmic dust.
For more on the Tanpopo Project (external link): http://logos.ls.toyaku.ac.jp/~lcb-7/tanpopo/introduction.html

Research Category

Areas of Activity
Space Robot Software
Related Keywords