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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2003-09-10
    Description: Using slender-body hydrodynamics in the inertialess limit, we examine the motion of Purcell's Swimmer, a planar, fore-aft-symmetric three-link flagellum or propulsive mechanism that translates by alternately moving its front and rear segments. Purcell (1976) concluded via symmetry arguments that the net displacement of such a swimmer must follow a straight line, but the direction and other details of the motion have never been investigated. Numerical results indicate that the direction of net translation and the speed of Purcell's swimmer depend on the angular amplitude of the swimming strokes as well as on the relative length of the links. Analytical results are presented for small rotations about the straightened configuration, and physical arguments are given to qualitatively explain the propulsive dynamics. The optimal swimmer configurations under the conditions of constant forcing and of minimum mechanical work are determined. We use a definition of efficiency based on the straightened configuration as a reference state to compare Purcell's swimmer with the previously treated swimming motions of an undulating rod and a rotating helix. Finally, we demonstrate the importance of the anisotropy in the local hydrodynamic slender-body drag to swimming motions at low Reynolds number by showing that, in general, any inextensible swimmer in an otherwise quiescent fluid cannot alter its average position under conditions of locally isotropic drag.
    Print ISSN: 0022-1120
    Electronic ISSN: 1469-7645
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics , Physics
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2009-07-30
    Description: Life on Earth is one of the outcomes of the formation and evolution of our solar system and has adapted to every explored environment on planet Earth. Recent discoveries have shown that life can exist in extreme environments, such as hydrothermal vents, in deserts and in ice lakes in Antarctica. These findings challenge the definition of the ‘planetary habitable zone’. The objective of future international planetary exploration programmes is to implement a long-term plan for the robotic and human exploration of solar system bodies. Mars has been a central object of interest in the context of extraterrestrial life. The search for extinct or extant life on Mars is one of the main goals of space missions to the Red Planet during the next decade. In this paper we describe the investigation of the physical and chemical properties of Mars soil analogues collected in arid deserts. We measure the pH, redox potential and ion concentrations, as well as carbon and amino acid abundances of soils collected from the Atacama desert (Chile and Peru) and the Salten Skov sediment from Denmark. The samples show large differences in their measured properties, even when taken only several meters apart. A desert sample and the Salten Skov sediment were exposed to a simulated Mars environment to test the stability of amino acids in the soils. The presented laboratory and field studies provide limits to exobiological models, evidence on the effects of subsurface mineral matrices, support current and planned space missions and address planetary protection issues.
    Print ISSN: 1473-5504
    Electronic ISSN: 1475-3006
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences
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