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The RISE project has entered its final stage before the launch of bdelloid rotifers towards the International Space Station! The project is a collaboration between Unamur (LEGE, PI K. Van Doninck; LARN, Co-PI S. Lucas and A-C Heuskin) and the radiobiology Unit of SCK-CEN (Co-PI Sarah Baatout). During this first launch, scientists will study how the space environment affects gene expression of rotifers bdelloids exposed to microgravity and cosmic radiation. Further, the impact of space flight on their genomic architecture will be investigated. The data will contribute to a better knowledge of biological responses to extreme environment and future space flights to the moon or Mars…
Boris Hespeels (RISE project leader) and Lucie Bruneau (Technician, both URBE) directed the final rehearsal of the experiment at the BIOTESC lab (Switzerland) in collaboration with ESA, Kayser Italia and Kayser Space. They had the opportunity to give seminar and to simulate/validate experiments with flight hardware. Positive results, expected by October 2019, will give the RISE project the green light to leave into space next December.

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