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First Sampling for Project MERCCURI


Last week Jenna Lang, Russell Neches, and myself headed over to the Sacramento King’s basketball arena to collect samples before the game as part of project MERCCURI (a.k.a Microbes in Spaaaaace!).

Our goals were:

1)To get culture samples, of which one representative will fly to the International Space Station (ISS) for the “microbial playoffs”.

2)To familiarize ourselves with the layout of equipment around a basketball court so that we can sample consistently across venues.   Similarly we need to create a clear protocol that can be followed by the Science Cheerleaders at other games.

DSC_0016After answering a number of awkward questions (such as “what exactly are you doing here?”) and navigating security (we did have passes and permission to sample!) we made our way courtside.   We sampled numerous surface and talked extensively with the Game Day Host for the Kings.   As a result we’ve chosen 5 sites for sampling.

-practice balls (game day ball if possible)

-screen from the coach statistics station (is fixed in place and there should be one at every court)

-center court logo

-armrest of a courtside VIP seat

-bottom of the “sweat mop”  (my personal favorite)





David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter

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