Microorganisms on Spaceships

Posted on May 12, 2007  Comments (1)

Space Mold photo

Preventing “Sick” Spaceships, NASA:

Moreover, the mass of water was only one of several hiding behind different panels. Scientists later concluded that the water had condensed from humidity that accumulated over time as water droplets coalesced in microgravity. The pattern of air currents in Mir carried air moisture preferentially behind the panel, where it could not readily escape or evaporate.

Nor was the water clean: two samples were brownish and a third was cloudy white. Behind the panels the temperature was toasty warm—82ºF (28ºC)—just right for growing all kinds of microbeasties. Indeed, samples extracted from the globules by syringes and returned to Earth for analysis contained several dozen species of bacteria and fungi, plus some protozoa, dust mites, and possibly spirochetes.

But wait, there’s more. Aboard Mir, colonies of organisms were also found growing on “the rubber gaskets around windows, on the components of space suits, cable insulations and tubing, on the insulation of copper wires, and on communications devices,”

Photo: Dust mite was found floating in a globule of water onboard Mir. Other microorganisms collected include protozoa and amoeba. [Read more – Microbial Characterization of Free Floating Condensate
aboard the Mir Space Station – pdf

Related: Boiling Water in SpaceVoyager 1: Now 100 Times Further Away than the SunNASA Engineering Challenges

One Response to “Microorganisms on Spaceships”

  1. Cade
    May 13th, 2007 @ 2:36 am

    Wow…I have never heard of this before. Was this in the news or have I been on another planet? I think that this is great information and it is interesting to think what other organisms might be out there.

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