Microbes Science Discovered on International Space Station

In recent years, our knowledge of the universe has taken a dramatic leap forward. Since humans began their explorations of space, we have come to realize that planets, stars, and galaxies are not the only things that populate the depths of the universe. Microorganisms have become a key focus of research around the world and that also extends to space too. The International Space Station (ISS) has recently revealed an exciting collection of microbes, underlining the importance of microbes themselves and beneficial discoveries they bring.

What is the International Space Station?

The International Space Station (ISS) is no ordinary man-made structure. It is the most complex engineering venture in human history, a testament to the collaboration of over eighteen countries and a project that has cost over $100 billion. The length of the ISS is 419 feet, and its habitable volume is equal to the size of an entire American football field. It orbits the Earth at a speed of approximately 17,000 miles an hour and completes fifteen and a half orbits in a single day. The ISS is an important platform for research, and the discoveries made on board help scientists understand the universe more profoundly.

The Importance of Microbiology in Space Exploration

Microbiology is a field of science that goes beyond understanding just bacteria and viruses. It is concerned with all microorganisms, including fungi, protozoans, and archaea. What makes microbiology even more fascinating is the fact that these tiny creatures are everywhere, although often very hard to detect. Microbes play essential roles in the environment and their uses extend far into space exploration. For example, microorganisms can be used to convert waste products into useful resources, helping create a sustainable environment on board the ISS. Additionally, microbes can be used to detect changes in the environment, both in terms of hazardous chemicals and overall health.

Microbes Discovered on the International Space Station

The research conducted on board the ISS has recently revealed a range of diverse microorganisms. According to scientists, no fewer than 300 species of microbes are now known to exist on the space station. As the investigations on board continue, the number is constantly increasing, with a number of new species being discovered frequently.

Among the newly discovered microbial species found on the ISS is Actibacter jarrumensis, which is closely related to the Actibacter looiensis microbes. This species is associated with food spoilage, particularly in organic and home animal farming. Bacillus subtilis, a bacterium closely related to Bacillus thuringiensis, has also been discovered on the ISS. It is known to have a role in health enhancement, capable of producing a wide range of antimicrobial agents.

Other microbes have also been discovered, including Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause food poisoning and antibiotic resistance, Corynebacterium accolens, involved in both human and animal infections, and Campylobacter jejuni, a bacterium that can cause severe gastroenteritis. Despite these potentially pathogenic organisms being discovered, the ISS remains a safe environment for astronauts.

Recent Research about Microbes in Space

When it comes to putting microbiology into space exploration, recent research has revealed some fascinating new discoveries. In 2020, research conducted on board the ISS revealed that some common microbes on Earth are capable of surviving in a space environment. It was further confirmed that ecosystems can grow and adapt to such an environment, something that wasn’t known before.

Another experiment revealed that certain types of microorganisms could repair their DNA damage caused by the radiation experienced in the vacuum of space. This could be a breakthrough in terms of protection for astronauts and other space travelers, as the radiation experienced in space can be hazardous to humans.

The discoveries made on board the International Space Station (ISS) have been truly revolutionary, not just in terms of discovering new microbes, but in learning more about the fascinating universe around us. Although explorations of space have typically focused on planets and stars, microorganisms have been a key point of research and discovery. Research conducted on the ISS has revealed a variety of beneficial microbes that are capable of surviving and even prospering in the intense environment of space. As we discover more about the universe and put microbiology into space exploration, the possibilities that lie ahead are truly exciting.