On April 8th, a NASA report says that the scientist team from the ISS has found the surface of the space filled with microbes just like in an office or gym from Earth, and that could threaten astronauts' health.
Given that astronauts have altered immunity during spaceflight and do not have access to sophisticated medical interventions available on Earth, NASA's latest study on the existence of microbes lurking on the ISS will help in devising safety measures for astronauts and long-term space travel. They argue that the integrity of the ISS itself should also be investigated, given that some of the microbes they found are associated with corrosion.
In 14 months and three flights, the researchers had used traditional culture technique to analyze the surfaces from the ISS.
The authors found that while fungal communities were stable, microbial communities were similar across locations but changed over time.
NASA wish to use Astrobees in order to learn more about how humans interact with robots over extended time periods and in close proximity.
These microbes can cause diseases back on Earth.
These bacteria commonly infect the skin, eyes, and urinary tract, and some produce toxins responsible for septicemia (known as blood poisoning), and food poisoning.
The type of bacteria discovered are similar to what you can find in gyms, offices and hospitals on Earth.
Prior to this study, numerous bacterial cultures on the ISS were largely unknown - most could not be determined by traditional methods such as petri dish growth.
The International Space Station is teeming with bacteria and fungi that can cause diseases, a new study found.
Finally, with the study of bacteria on the International Space Station, NASA can improve safety measures for human space habitation.
Microbes are known to survive in extreme environments, and space is pretty challenging.
"Regardless, the detection of possible disease-causing organisms highlights the importance of further studies to examine how these ISS microbes function in space", said Dr Checinska Sielaff, the study's first author.
The research could "also have significant impact on our understanding of other confined built environments on the Earth such as clean rooms used in the pharmaceutical and medical industries", Venkateswaran said.