Microbial biodiversity assessment of the European Space Agency’s ExoMars 2016 mission

Determining if life exists or ever existed beyond Earth is one of the most interesting scientific questions. Reports on numerous habitable planets have increased the speculations about potential extra-terrestrial life. However, these theoretically life-supporting planets are far beyond human’s reach – except Mars. In order to explore if there ever was life on Mars, the …

Worth a look: Communicating promise, risks, & ethics of large-scale, open space microbiome & metagenome research 

At the recent NAS MOBE meeting there was some discussion of some potential ethical concerns associated with one of the projects discussed (work of Eric Alm where he was collecting samples from urban water systems and trying to infer information about communities and residents).   OK #MOBE17 and others out there – I am getting …

Journal Club: Metagenomics on the Space Station

Microbes in space have been of interest to the folks at various space agencies for as long as we’ve been sending people into space.  Rampant mold growth on the Russian Space Station Mir was probably one of the reasons for the decision to “deorbit” the station (a fancy way of describing crashing into the ocean).  …

From @CNNAshley at @CNN: Why NASA is sending a superbug to the space station 

Just a quick post here.  There is a new CNN story that may be of interest. An antibiotic-resistant superbug will launch from the same pad where the first manned mission to the moon lifted off to be studied on the International Space Station. Source: Why NASA is sending a superbug to the space station – …

Summary and talks/slides from Workshop on the Microbiome of the International Space Station

Just a quick post here that all the information (including slides and videos) from a really interesting CASIS sponsored workshop are online.  The topic relates to the most extreme built environment to date… the International Space Station.   The workshop was called “Exploring the Microbiome/Immunome and Disease on the International Space Station” and took place back …

NASA, Bigelow Laboratory Study Microbes on Spacecrafts

Just a mini post here.  Got pointed to this press release of possible interest on a collaboration to study microbes on the space station and on other spacecrafts using single cell approaches: Source: NASA, Bigelow Laboratory Study Microbes on Spacecrafts – Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Emily Anthes on “Can science build the perfect workspace? ” #BuiltEnvironment #microbiomes

Windows, desks and employees are being wired up in a quest to create healthy, evidence-based environments. Interesting article by Emily Anthes in Nature: The office experiment: Can science build the perfect workspace? : Nature News & Comment It focuses on a collaboration between the Mayo Clinic and a design firm – Delos to create something called the …

Green space influences human health and airborne microbial communities

A recent open access paper from the BioBE Center at University of Oregon explored the differences between airborne bacteria collected in parks and parking lots. Entitled “Urban greenness influences airborne bacterial community composition” and published in Science of the Total Environment, this interdisciplinary study combined research methods from microbiology and landscape architecture to answer the …

Chernobyl Fungi in Space

Just a quick post about the fact that researchers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) are sending radiation resistant (even radiation-loving) fungi for some experiments on the International Space Station (ISS).  They are looking for changes that occur in microgravity after growth for 14 days on the ISS with respect to ground control strains.  Very …

Latest #spacemicrobes Paper is Out… Built Environment Strains Grown on the ISS.

Our latest Project MERCCURI paper came out last week and so I figured I’d do a quick post about it here since it’s a good fit for the microbiology of the built environment. In short, we collected a number of bacterial strains from built environments on earth and sent them to the space station to …