Nominations sought for NAS Committee on Microbiomes of the Built Environment

Just got sent this by Katherine Bowman from the Board on Life Sciences.  This is really important and if you know of someone who would be good please consider nominating them.     Request for Committee Nominations — Microbiomes of the Built Environment: From Research to Application The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are …

Is your spacecraft contaminating the universe?

An article at Space.Com discusses a new push to make sure that spacecraft do not inadvertently contaminate the places they are visiting (e.g., Mars).  What microbes are on space vehicles and how to make sure the parts that are sent to other planets are “clean” or “sterile” is an interesting and active area of research. …

Project MERCCURI (#spacemicrobes) results… comparing earth to space

We’ve posted previously about the results of the microbial playoffs in space (microbenet post here, and project website here).  And while it’s fun to compare the growth of a microbe representing the Raiders to one representing the 49ers (Raiders won that one)… there’s a more serious question being asked here. We wanted to know what …

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 …

And the winners of the #spacemicrobes Microbial Playoffs are…

NOTE (3-12-15):  THESE RESULTS ARE INCORRECT.   We have left them here for comparison.   A blog post describing the problem is here and the correct information can be found here. We’ve finished analyzing all the data from the “Microbial Playoffs” part of Project MERCCURI (described here).   Each microbe that was chosen to fly to the International …

Update on Project MERCCURI a.k.a. #spacemicrobes

After 9 months of technical delays, during which time our collection of frozen built environment microbes went around the earth every 90 minutes, we are finally getting growth data from the International Space Station (ISS)!   Astronaut Terry Virts has been taking daily growth readings of our collection of 48 microbes and today (Friday) is …

Not quite space, but microbes in high altitudes

Thanks to a recent tweet, I saw a paper I would have surely otherwise missed: A method for sampling microbial aerosols using high altitude balloons in the Journal of Microbiological Methods. A method for sampling microbial aerosols using high altitude balloons w/ @nbryan5 http://t.co/jyXLOjEdP7 — Cameron Thrash (@DrJCThrash) November 11, 2014 The proud LSU Tiger …

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 …

Microbes from the built environment finally head to space, #spacemicrobes

After 1.5 years of collection events, culturing, identification, and selection of candidates our space microbes experiment finally is in orbit.  Our 48 microbes, collected from a variety of built environments on earth, are now whipping around the planet.  The rocket took off from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral at 3:25pm EST yesterday.  In a …