The on-orbit test of the space microbial detection module developed by BIT was a complete success


On October 31, the return capsule of the Shenzhou 16 manned spacecraft successfully landed. Zhang Ying, School of Life Sciences, Beijing Institute of Technology, as the project leader, is responsible for the microbial prevention and control technology test project of the extraterrestrial residence module facility - the culture chip. The return capsule of spacecraft No. 6 successfully landed at the Dongfeng Landing Field in Ejina Banner, Inner Mongolia. Teachers and students from the School of Life of BIT went to the landing site as members of the recovery test team and immediately recovered the downlink samples.


The extraterrestrial residence module facility microbial detection module is a device independently developed by Beijing Institute of Technology using new technology to perform on-orbit microfluidic detection and high-throughput culture of microorganisms under space conditions, including microbial detection chips and culture chips, laying a solid payload foundation for subsequent and sustained space microbial research. The detection module device was successfully launched with the Mengtian Experimental Module on October 31, 2022, and the two chips entered the Chinese Space Station on May 10, 2023 aboard the "Tianzhou-6" cargo spacecraft. The detection chip was immediately carried out on-orbit experiments with great success. The in-orbit scientific experiment of the cultured chip was officially launched from September 8 to October 24. During this period, teachers and students from the School of Life Sciences of Beijing Institute of Technology continuously monitored the experimental process at the Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center. With the assistance of astronauts, multiple space-ground coordinated operations were conducted, complete telemetry experimental data was obtained, and the on-orbit test was a complete success. At present, the culture chip has arrived at the laboratory of the School of Life at Beijing Institute of Technology as soon as possible. After preliminary identification, the chip structure and the state of the internal microorganisms are intact. Zhang Ying's research team will use it to carry out all aspects of space microbiology including metabolism, breeding, ecology, evolution, etc. Scientific research is expected to have a positive impact on the development of space microbiology and space biotechnology.


Since 2015, Zhang Ying's research group has carried out a number of space environmental microbiology studies, including space microbial ecology, detection, corrosion, metabolism, etc., with the support of a number of National Natural Science Foundation and national manned space projects. The evolution characteristics of microbial communities in the final assembly and testing plants, products and environment during the ground development of the China Space Station were collected and analyzed in the early stage, providing a basis for the timely construction of ground prevention and control facilities during the development of the space station, ensuring that the microorganisms in the space station cabin meet the medical index requirements before launch. During the space station's orbital flight, the diversity, succession characteristics and abundance of microbial communities in the early stages of the space station's orbit were comprehensively analyzed, and the areas and strains that need to be focused on subsequent prevention and control of the space station were proposed. The team also studied the impact of short-term space environment on the corrosive ability of microbial flora, and developed a variety of space microbial detection and analysis, cleaning and decontamination and high-throughput culture methods. In the past five years, the team members have published 13 academic papers in high-level international journals in the field of space microbiology as the first author or corresponding author, and have obtained 2 authorized national invention patents as the first patentee. The scientific research results provide important data basis for formulating microbial safety prevention and control strategies and building a prevention and control system for China's space station. The team's work has been highly recognized by application certificates issued by the space station project office and aerospace technology project office.