NASA postdoctoral fellowship solicitation to study the microbiology of the #ISS

In parallel to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation offer of two postdoctoral fellowships to study the microbiology of the ISS, NASA is also issuing a pair of postdoc fellowships on their end.  The collaboration between Sloan and NASA is great to see, since there is significant overlap between their interests in this field.  I’m really …

Videos of talks from “Microbiomes of the Built Environment: From Research to Application”

On April 11 there was a meeting in Washington DC that was part of an effort from a new study being conducted by the National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Engineering on “Microbiomes of the Built Environment”.  Videos and slides from the meeting have now been posted.  I have compiled them below. In addition, I …

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 …

Planetary Protection Workshop (Forward Contamination)

This is the second of three posts about the planetary protection workshop I attended at NASA Ames from March 24-26, 2015. The first is here (and here.) Forward contamination, in the context of planetary protection, refers to the transport of microbes from Earth to Mars. The title of the workshop, and many talk titles refer to “human …

Nice series of papers on microbial ecology and space travel

Well, here is another benefit of automated Google Scholar searches. I think it is unlikely I would have found these new papers without such searches but these are fascinating and directly relevant to many aspects of work we are doing on Project MERCCURI.  A series of papers on microbial ecolog and space travel in the …

The 11.4 million mile swab kit

I’m proud to announce that the sample collection for the building science component of Project MERCCURI is complete! In early May, Koichi Wakata from JAXA (Japan’s space exploration agency) collected swabs swabs of surfaces aboard the International Space Station. Back in June last year, Jenna, Wendy and I went to the Johnson Space Center in …

NASA report of interest (from 2012): Genetic inventory (of spacecraft) task final report

Just discovered this report: BEACON eSpace at Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Genetic inventory task final report.  It is a summary of genetic studies of microbes found on various spacecraft and associated facilities. Abstract: Contaminant terrestrial microbiota could profoundly impact the scientific integrity of extraterrestrial life-detection experiments. It is therefore important to know what organisms persist on spacecraft …