WEBMAIL    |    Intranet    |    Site Map



The first workshop dedicated to the third millennium - the space millennium

on 11 January 2000

Romanian Space Agency organizes the first workshop dedicated to the third millennium - the space millennium. The event takes place on Wednesday, January 12, 2000, at 11:00, at the Scientists' House in Lahovary Square. The subject is "Magnetic Bacteria - a Transition from Physics to Biology". Dr. Radu POPA from the Institute of Speology and Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Dr. Ladislau VEKAS from the Institute of Complex Fluids, and Dr. Marius-Ioan PISO from the Romanian Space Agency and Institute of Space Sciences are lecturing for 45 minutes. Scientists and decision-makers in science and technology are invited.
The hosts offer a cocktail after the lectures.

Romanian Space Agency chose a representative field for the transition to the third millennium, which has a few particular features:

  • the new multidisciplinary aspect of science and technology, emphasized - in this case - by the transition from the 20th century - dominated by physics - to the 21st century - probably dominated by biology;
  • the space research component, especially the exobiology, which was created by the discovery of magnetic bacteria on the AHL 84001 meteorite - discovered in 1986 and considered to come from Mars;
  • the convergence between two advanced research fields - physics (magnetic fluids) and biology (magnetic bacteria);
  • the facts that: there are high level experience and expertise in Romania, in both fields; magnetic fluids have been researched and produced since 1978; and bacteria like the magnetic ones were discovered in Movila Cave, in 1992.
  • Meteorite ALH 84001 was discovered in 1984, in Allan Hills area, Antarctica. In 1986 possible life forms were identified in the meteorite. The studies of the meteorite said it could come from Mars. The life forms could have been magnetic bacteria.

Magnetic bacteria were identified in 1975. These microorganisms contain nano-particles from magnetic materials, and they self-generate. Magnetic bacteria exist in different terrestrial areas and environments, especially in the mud of some lakes, including the ones in Mangalia area. The magnetic component is structured in a magnetosome form - magnetite crystallites covered by a membrane. The dimensions of a magnetosome are of 10…100nm (1nm = 1 million of a millimeter). It seems the magnetosomes are used by the bacteria only for orientation in anaerobic environments, and for identifying resources and obtaining the energy necessary for its metabolism.

Magnetic fluids were first developed by NASA in 1965, for the elaboration of a propulsion system in microgravity. From a macroscopic viewpoint, magnetic liquids are those obviously atracted by the magnets. Microscopically, they are formed of a coloidal suspension of magnetic material particles (magnetite, for example); their dimensions are of 3…20nm. The suspension remains for ten years or more. The aplications of the magnetic fluids are generally in hi-tech fields, and also in seals for bearings of computers' hard-disks, or in aerospace industry. During the last few years, various biomedical applications develop.

Existent and possible applications of these scientific researches extend in many fields. The main feature is the possibility of structuring a complex environment by using magnetic fields, relatively easy to produce in our technological era.

The fields of use are aerospace techniques, chemical industry, medicines, sensors, and computer technology. The future applications of the magnetic fluids emphasize - on a short-term - medicine and biology.

On a long-term, there is the possibility of producing complex biophysics structures, which are able to behave intelligently and which are able to replace astronauts in far space missions.