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Musing over Microbes in Microgravity: Microbial Physiology Flight ExperimentNew York City, the most populated city in the United States, is home to over 8 million humans. This means over 26,000 people per square mile! Imagine, though, what the view would be if you peeked into the world of microscopic organisms. Scientists estimate that a gram of soil may contain up to 1 billion of these microbes, which is as much as the entire human population of China! Scientists also know that the world of microbes is incredibly diverse-possibly 10,000 different species in one gram of soil - more than all the different types of mammals in the world. Microbes fill every niche in the world - from 20 miles below the Earth's surface to 20 miles above, and at temperatures from less than -20 C to hotter than water's boiling point. These organisms are ubiquitous because they can adapt quickly to changing environments, an effective strategy for survival. Although we may not realize it, microbes impact every aspect of our lives. Bacteria and fungi help us break down the food in our bodies, and they help clean the air and water around us. They can also cause the dark, filmy buildup on the shower curtain as well as, more seriously, illness and disease. Since humans and microbes share space on Earth, we can benefit tremendously from a better understanding of the workings and physiology of the microbes. This insight can help prevent any harmful effects on humans, on Earth and in space, as well as reap the benefits they provide. Space flight is a unique environment to study how microbes adapt to changing environmental conditions. To advance ground-based research in the field of microbiology, this STS-107 experiment will investigate how microgravity affects bacteria and fungi. Of particular interest are the growth rates and how they respond to certain antimicrobial substances that will be tested; the same tests will be conducted on Earth at the same times. Comparing the results obtained in flight to those on Earth, we will be able to examine how microgravity induces physiological changes in the microbes.
Document ID
20030011393
Document Type
Other
Authors
Schweickart, Randolph (ICOS Corp. Bothell, WA United States)
McGinnis, Michael (Texas Univ. Galveston, TX United States)
Bloomberg, Jacob (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX United States)
Lee, Angie
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
December 16, 2002
Publication Information
Publication: STS 107 Shuttle Press Kit: Providing 24/7 Space Science Research
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Report/Patent Number
NASA/FS-2002-02-061-JSC
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20030011376Analytic PrimarySTS 107 Shuttle Press Kit: Providing 24/7 Space Science Research
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