NASA Reports Infection with Bacteria on the International Space Station

Astronaut Stephen K. Robinson STS-114 mission specialist anchored to a foot restraint on the International Space Station's Canadarm2 participates in the mission's third session of extravehicular activity

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Also, the Astrobees' cameras will give on-ground controllers the ability to fly around the space station and inspect the surroundings. Here to be noted that the station, which began being built in 1998, and housed its first long-term residents in 2000, orbits around 250 miles above the Earth, in the region known as Low Earth Orbit.

Microbes and bacteria tend to grow and thrive in intense environments, and the closed space of the ISS is no exception.

Scientists have been cataloging bacteria and fungi inside the International Space Station (ISS), and they say their efforts will should keep astronauts safe and could also have benefits on Earth.

NASA added that the said microbes would help the space organization to develop and create ways, as well as, preventions on how to stop these bacteria from infecting every astronaut. Dr. Kasthuri Venkateswaran, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and a corresponding author said that the discovery is necessary for the astronauts during spaceflight, as they have altered immunity and do not have access to the sophisticated medical interventions available on Earth.

"This would depend on a number of factors, including the health status of each individual and how these organisms function while in the space environment".

'Specific microbes in these indoor spaces have been shown to impact human health by influencing our susceptibility to allergies, infectious diseases, or sick building syndrome, ' he added. Also, the bacteria found on the ISS are associated with the humans; we are talking about Staphylococcus, which is located on the skin or in the nasal passage, Pantoea, Bacillus, and Enterobacter, that is associated with the human gastrointestinal tract.

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Sampling the surfaces in eight locations throughout the ISS, including the viewing window, toilet, exercise platform, dining table, and sleeping quarters, the extensive study measured the station's microbial community over the course of 14 months.

Currently, on ISS are six astronauts, and if the bacteria could cause health problems on the crew, is unknown yet. Also, the detection of possible disease-causing organisms highlights the importance of further studies to examine how these ISS microbes function in the area. On the other hand, microbial communities were similar across locations but changed over time.

For example, the microbe samples swabbed during the second mission had a higher population diversity than those collected during the other two periods. The authors suggest that these temporal differences may be due to the different astronauts on board the ISS.

Explaining "the potential ability to form biofilms and the magnitude of actual biofilm formation on ISS surfaces is important during long-term space missions to maintain structural stability of the crew vehicle when routine indoor maintenance can not be easily performed", the report reads.

Numerous organisms are known to form both bacterial and fungal biofilms that promote resistance to antibiotics.

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