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Surprising Science

Microbes in Space

It’s certainly cheaper than sending a person: NASA will be sending microbes into space. Researchers at UC Davis are leading the initiative. The big idea presented here is that the study will allow us to understand how bacteria lives in microgravity, which is important to understand as humans venture deeper into space. The study will compare how microbes behave in “built environments” on Earth to that of the ISS.

The initiative was also launched to raise awareness of microbiology, according to lead researcher David Coil. Part of the Project MERCCURI, which stands for”Microbial Ecology Research Combining Citizen and University Researchers on the International Space Station,” the “citizen scientist” project called on local communities to help collect neutral bacteria to send into space. There’s even a troop of Science Cheerleaders–an organization of bringing together professional cheerleaders who hold science degrees–that joined the effort by collecting samples from the Liberty Bell among other high profile places. 

Watch the video from UC Davis to learn more about NASA’s bacteria space invaders: 

       Image credit: iurii/Shutterstock


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