NASA Logo

NTRS

NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
characterize human forward contamination projectLet's face it: wherever we go, we will inevitably carry along the little critters that live in and on us. Conventional wisdom has long held that it's unlikely those critters could survive the space environment, but in 2007 microscopic animals called Tardigrades survived exposure to space and in 2008 Cyanobacteria lived for 548 days outside the International Space Station (ISS). But what about the organisms we might reasonably expect a crewed spacecraft to leak or vent? Do we even know what they are? How long might our tiny hitch-hikers survive in close proximity to a warm spacecraft that periodically leaks/vents water or oxygen-and how might they mutate with long-duration exposure? Unlike the Mars rovers that we cleaned once and sent on their way, crew members will provide a constantly regenerating contaminant source. Are we prepared to certify that we can meet forward contamination protocols as we search for life at new destinations? This project has four technical objectives: 1. TEST: Develop a test plan to leverage existing equipment (i.e. ISS) to characterize the kinds of organisms we can reasonably expect pressurized, crewed volumes to vent or leak overboard; 2. ANALYSIS: Develop an analysis plan to study those organisms in relevant destination environments, including spacecraft-induced conditions; 3. MODEL: Develop a modeling plan to model organism transport mechanisms in relevant destination environments; 4. SHARE: Develop a plan to disseminate findings and integrate recommendations into exploration requirements & ops. In short, we propose a system engineering approach to roadmap the necessary experiments, analysis, and modeling up front--rather than try to knit together disparate chunks of data into a sensible conclusion after the fact.
Document ID
20150003002
Document Type
Other
Authors
Rucker, Michelle
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
March 17, 2015
Publication Date
February 8, 2015
Subject Category
Man/System Technology and Life Support
Exobiology
Aerospace Medicine
Report/Patent Number
JSC-CN-32961
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Available Downloads

NameType 20150003002.pdf STI