The worldwide effort to grow nanotechnology, rather than use lithography, focuses on diatoms, single cell eukaryotic
algae with ornate silica shells, which can be replaced by oxides and ceramics, or reduced to elemental silicon, to create
complex nanostructures with compositions of industrial and electronics importance. Diatoms produce an enormous
variety of structures, some of which are microtubule dependent and perhaps sensitive to microgravity. The NASA
Single Loop for Cell Culture (SLCC) for culturing and observing microorganisms permits inexpensive, low labor in-space
experiments. We propose to send up to the International Space Station diatom cultures of the three diatom species
whose genomes are currently being sequenced, plus the giant diatoms of Antarctica (up to 6 mm length for a single cell)
and the unique colonial diatom, Bacillaria paradoxa. Bacillaria cells move against each other in partial synchrony, like
a sliding deck of cards, by a microfluidics mechanism. Will normal diatoms have aberrant patterns, shapes or motility
compared to ground controls? The generation time is typically one day, so that many generations may be examined
from one flight. Rapid, directed evolution may be possible running the SLCC as a compustat. The shell shapes and
patterns are preserved in hard silica, so that the progress of normal and aberrant morphogenesis may be followed by
drying samples on a moving filter paper "diatom tape recorder". With a biodiversity of 100,000 distinct species, diatom
nanotechnology may offer a compact and portable nanotechnology toolkit for space exploration anywhere.
Activities in living cells are performed by protein conformational dynamics which in turn are governed by quantum mechanical van der Waals London forces in intra-protein “hydrophobic” pockets. In assemblies of proteins with periodic lattice geometry such as cytoskeletal actin and microtubules (as well as ordered water on their surfaces), Bose-Einstein condensation, quantum coherent superposition and quantum computation with entanglement may occur as a collective effect of these forces due to metabolic coherent phonon pumping. Decoherence can be avoided through isolation/shielding by actin gelation, Debye layer screening and water/ion ordering and topological quantum error correction. As an example, quantum spin transfer through organic molecules is more efficient at higher temperatures than at absolute zero. The unitary oneness and ineffability of living systems may depend on mesoscopic/macroscopic quantum states in protoplasm.
Experiments on the dynamics of vibrational fluctuations in myoglobin revealed an interesting behavioral cross-over occurring in the range of 180-200 K. In this temperature range the mean square displacement of atomic positions versus temperature sharply increases its slope indicating the dissociation of CO from the haeme group. In this paper we develop a theoretical framework for the description of this phenomenon assuming the existence of an effective quartic potential. We then use non-Gaussian statistics to obtain a relationship between the mean square displacement and model parameters. We compare our model to published experimental data using a physically meaningful parameter fit. While the Gaussian approximation's applicability is verified by the low-temperature régime, in the high-temperature limit deviations from the Gaussian approximation are due to the double-well nature of our effective potential. In the second part of the paper we summarize our molecular dynamics simulations of the myoglobin's hydration in the low-temperature régime and at room temperature.