Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Director

Sharana Basaweshwara Asundi

Committee Member

Drew Landman

Committee Member

Sandeep Kumar


Since humans last went to the moon on the Apollo missions, there has been a fascination with inhabiting and colonizing other planetary objects, starting with the Earth’s Moon, Mars, and recently Jupiter’s moon, Europa. However, there is still lack of knowledge and science behind many of the extraterrestrial environmental effects on biological organisms living on Earth. Therefore, there is a need to study how such environments would affect these organisms. Moreover, how can we attain sustainable living in such environments as well through self-providing life support systems (LSS), without the need to provide for additional necessities back and forth from and to earth? Among the many biological organisms that offer such sustainable capabilities is the Chlorella vulgaris microalgae. In this research work, we focus on investigating the combined effects of a simulated Lunar magnetic field and simulated Lunar regolith embedded nutrition medium on the growth and bioactive compounds of the Chlorella Vulgaris microalgae. To achieve this, a tri-dimensional magnetic field of 0.02𝜇𝜇T was produced using a Helmholtz cage. Three different sets of four exposures, each set mixed in a different nutrition medium, were exposed in the produced field. Exposures are characterized by time and the nutrition medium they are cultured in, with an exposure time of 0 minutes for control, then 60 minutes, 120 minutes, and 240 minutes for the most prolonged exposure, for the three mediums of BBM, BBM+ 100 grams of Lunar regolith, and MilliQ Water + 100 grams of Lunar regolith. Experimental work was done in two blocks to follow a Design of Experiments (DOE) statistical approach. Each block was 21 days. Samples within a block were exposed for 6 days and were analyzed every 3rd and 4th day for their carotenoids and bioactive compounds. Their growth rate was checked periodically. Mixed responses of enhancement and stressing effects were noticed in the results of all samples. Most notable were trends of fluctuating peaks and troughs usually central to specific days. No markers were found to correlate specific exposure time values to specific responses. The same goes for nutrition mediums. MilliQ water + lunar regolith-based nutrition medium was found to be least nurturing of growth, generating of carotenoids, and bioactive compounds. Peculiarly some EMF exposures tended to enhance these responses within the same MilliQ medium. ANOVA carried out on both blocks provided identifiers for complex interactions between EMF exposure times and the different nutrition mediums.


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