The Microbiome of the International Space Station

UK Centre for Astrobiology seminar

The Microbiome of the International Space Station

  • Event time: 2:30pm
  • Event date: 27th February 2018
  • Speaker: Professor Christine Moissl-Eichinger (Medical University of Graz)
  • Location: Room 4325A,

Event details

The International Space Station (ISS) represents the most confined man-made and inhabited environment to date. Since October 2000, the ISS has been constantly inhabited by humans. Naturally, the presence of humans also imposes the presence of their associated microorganisms in this confined habitat.

In addition to its confinement, the ISS represents a very unusual microbial biotope. Higher radiation levels than on Earth, low nutrient levels due to reduced introduction of new material, constant temperature (~22°C), stable humidity (~60%) and microgravity characterize the ISS habitat and make it a unique and extreme-situated indoor environment.

The microbiome of the ISS is of special interest for several reasons: for crew's health, but also for the integrity of spacecraft materials. In addition, microorganisms are indispensable for bioregenerative life support systems, such as MELISSA.

In our recent flight project, ARBEX, we analysed the microbial diversity in the different surfaces of the ISS. Numerous samples were taken from the Columbus module, the Cupola, the hygiene area and many other sites. In this talk, I will summarize the current knowledge on the ISS microbiome and present our novel results.

About UK Centre for Astrobiology seminars

The astrobiology seminar series is run by the UK Centre for Astrobiology based in the School of Physics & Astronomy. Astrobiology is a multi-disciplinary subject and the seminar series actively encourages attendance by undergraduates, postgraduates and academic staff from other departments..

Find out more about UK Centre for Astrobiology seminars.