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 …

Interesting though very incomplete story in Nature on Curiosity Rover (before launch)

Just pointed to this story: Microbial stowaways to Mars identified : Nature News & Comment by Darlene Cavalier, our collaborator on the “Space Microbes” Project MERCCURI.  The article reports on a presentation by Stephanie Smith at the ASM 2014 meeting going on in Boston.  Smith presented results from characterizing (via culturing) the microbes present on various parts …

AAAS Microbiomes of the Built Environment Symposium videos available on-line

Registrants for the March AAAS Symposium are recipients today of the following message from Anette Olsen at AAAS. “I’d like to let you know that the videos of each panel is now online, but they currently remain unedited. We anticipate another two weeks before the edited versions are placed online. In the meantime, here is …

Antimicrobial coating on a commercial polymer…IN SPACE

This study by C. Balagna et al from 2012 looks at the application of their product on spacecraft. They covered a commercial polymer generally used in aerospace with an antimicrobial made of silver and silica using radio frequencies. This was done in an attempt to mitigate the amount of contamination of spacecraft surfaces. When in space, …

Microbiome of the classroom: Teaching? Not really. Learning? Yes, definitely.

On March 7, 2014, Ben Johnson wrote an all-encompassing blog post about the microbiome of the classroom’s built environment. (Dr. Jonathan Eisen also mentions Johnson’s article in a blog post a day afterwards.) In his blog post, not only does Johnson describe the different types of microbes living on the walls, desks, and chairs in the classroom, but …

Not-So-Clean Rooms

In researching previous studies conducted on microbes in space for Project MERCURRI, I ran across an interesting microbiology diversity study done on European Spacecraft-Associated (ESA) clean rooms in the Herschel Space Observatory. Historically, clean rooms are supposedly “sterile” environments that are used for the building and maintenance of spacecrafts, as directed by the UN’s Outer Space planetary …

Altered gene expression by Candida albicans in space

Sometimes blogging on microBEnet feels a bit like a MadLib.   There are certain recurring themes that fit the model well. For example: __________ (microbe) was recently found to do _______________ (cool thing)… IN SPAAAAACE!  This has implications for future manned spaceflight missions. So here we go for today: The fungal pathogen Candida albicans was recently …