Activity: Space Decontamination
- A sterile spacecraft environment is extremely important. To understand this importance and to test for the presence of alien life forms, try this experiment.
- Dry beans (soaked in water overnight)
- Four 250ml containers
- 3% Iodine
- 70% Alcohol
- Place equal number of beans in each bottle
- Cover the beans with water
- Add 10 drops of the following to each bottle in turn:
- Bottle AIodine
- Bottle BAlcohol
- Bottle CLysol
- Bottle DNothing
- Stopper the bottles with cotton and allow them to stand in a warm place for two or three days.
- Periodically examine the bottles for cloudiness and odor.
- How does one account for any changes in color or odor in the bottles?
- What difference might using sterile bottles have made in this experiment?
- Would sterilization of the beans have made a difference?
- What would happen if different temperatures had been used?
- How many variables can you identify in this experiment?
- How many did you account for or control?