Story behind the paper: Porphyrobacter mercurialis, a new species found by #citizenscience and then sent to the #iss

So our first attempt at entering the world of bacterial taxonomy and the description of a new species came out today with the thrilling title of “Porphyrobacter mercurialis sp. nov., isolated from a stadium seat and emended description of the genus Porphyrobacter“. The story leading to this paper took us into  a lot of new …

Nominations sought for NAS Committee on Microbiomes of the Built Environment

Just got sent this by Katherine Bowman from the Board on Life Sciences.  This is really important and if you know of someone who would be good please consider nominating them.     Request for Committee Nominations — Microbiomes of the Built Environment: From Research to Application The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are …

Mars Dome – a cool closed system

According to a recent BBC news article, NASA is doing a Mars simulation project to see if six live human beings can survive being isolated in a dome together. From a MoBE perspective, it would be cool to study this system. It’s completely closed to outside microbes – the people living in this dome have to …

Is your spacecraft contaminating the universe?

An article at Space.Com discusses a new push to make sure that spacecraft do not inadvertently contaminate the places they are visiting (e.g., Mars).  What microbes are on space vehicles and how to make sure the parts that are sent to other planets are “clean” or “sterile” is an interesting and active area of research. …

Workshop on Planetary Protection Knowledge Gaps for Human Extraterrestrial Missions (Reverse Contamination)

This is the third of three posts about the planetary protection workshop I attended at NASA Ames from March 24-26, 2015. The first is here. I mentioned, in my last post on forward contamination, that reverse contamination is the primary concern for Planetary Protection (PP). In this context, reverse contamination refers to the transport of Martian …

Workshop on Planetary Protection Knowledge Gaps for Human Extraterrestrial Missions (Intro)

reposted from jennomics.com http://www.nasa.gov/ames/events/ppw2015workshop/#.VRMLLJPF8mU I’m at a NASA Ames workshop this week. The goal is to have a discussion about planetary protection with respect to human spaceflight, in particular to Mars, mostly during a “sample and return” mission and a little bit about human habitation on Mars. I’m tweeting with #planetaryprotection. There’s also live streaming here: …

And the winners of the #spacemicrobes Microbial Playoffs are…

NOTE (3-12-15):  THESE RESULTS ARE INCORRECT.   We have left them here for comparison.   A blog post describing the problem is here and the correct information can be found here. We’ve finished analyzing all the data from the “Microbial Playoffs” part of Project MERCCURI (described here).   Each microbe that was chosen to fly to the International …