CubeSat Terrariums to Evaluate Biological Systems in Deep Space

Claire L. Pedersen, Aleksandar Antonic, Farah M. Alqaraghuli, Riley E. Mayes, Yinan Xu, Sam Rose, Jekan Thangavelautham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Terrariums are isolated, self-contained ecosystems that sustain plant and animal life in a closed environment. They hold promise as a potential method for supporting life in space and could be crucial for long-term space missions and the colonization of other planets. This paper aims to explore micro-ecosystems residing in an in-orbit CubeSat Terrarium. The goal of this paper is to design a system that will be used to test an organism’s ability to survive and grow in different orbits under typical space conditions. The organisms being considered for this experiment are simple organisms commonly used in hobbyist terrariums. These will be placed under assumed ideal conditions. With this, a comparative trade study is being performed on three CubeSat designs each with the same organic materials. We start with a 3U CubeSat with a 2U terrarium intended to operate in Low Earth Orbit, followed by evaluating a 6U CubeSat operating in deep space (Martian Orbit), and finally a 12U CubeSat on a hyperbolic trajectory towards Alpha Centauri.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA SciTech Forum and Exposition, 2024
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624107115
StatePublished - 2024
EventAIAA SciTech Forum and Exposition, 2024 - Orlando, United States
Duration: Jan 8 2024Jan 12 2024

Publication series

NameAIAA SciTech Forum and Exposition, 2024


ConferenceAIAA SciTech Forum and Exposition, 2024
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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