International Space Station teeming with bacteria and fungi that can corrode spacecraft, study finds – The Independent

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The International Space Station is brimming with bacteria and fungi that can cause diseases and form biofilms that promote antibiotic resistance, and can even corrode the spacecraft, a new study has found. The station, built in 1998 and orbiting around 250 miles above the Earth, has been visited by more than 222 astronauts and up to six resupply missions a year up until August 2017. NASA scientists discovered microbes mainly came from humans and were similar to those found in public buildings and offices here on Earth. We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view. From 15p €0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras. The study – the first to provide a comprehensive catalogue of the bacteria and fungi lurking on interior surfaces in closed space systems – was published in the journal Microbiome. left Created with Sketch. right Created with Sketch. 1/15 Space X Dragon departs from the International Space Station and heads for earth AP 2/15 Space X Dragon undocks from the International Space Station NASA 3/15 SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured about 20 meters (66 feet) away from the International Space Station Nasa/AP 4/15 A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifts off on March 2 2019 Reuters 5/15 Astronauts aboard the Space Station preparing to open hatchet to the SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying a instrumented dummy after it successfully docked with Space Station Nasa TV/EPA 6/15 A dummy(L) named Ripley onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard after the opening of the hatch during the Demo-1 missioN Nasa TV/AP 7/15 The SpaceX team watches as the SpaceX Crew Dragon docks with the International Space Station Nasa/AP 8/15 SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket docked with the International Space Station during the Demo-1 mission Nasa/AFP/Getty 9/15 A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft Reuters 10/15 Astronaut David Saint-Jacques taking a look inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying a instrumented dummy Nasa TV/EPA 11/15 A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft lifts off on an uncrewed test flight Reuters 12/15 A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifts off on an uncrewed test flight Reuters 13/15 A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a demo Crew Dragon spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight AP 14/15 SpaceX’s new crew capsule approaches just before docking Nasa TV/AP 15/15 Astronaut Eric Boe, assistant to the chief of the astronaut office for commercial crew, left, and Norm Knight, deputy director of flight operations at Nasa’s Johnson Space Center watch the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft Nasa/AP 1/15 Space X Dragon departs from the International Space Station and heads for earth AP 2/15 Space X Dragon undocks from the International Space Station NASA 3/15 SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured about 20 meters (66 feet) away from the International Space Station Nasa/AP 4/15 A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifts off on March 2 2019 Reuters 5/15 Astronauts aboard the Space Station preparing to open hatchet to the SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying a instrumented dummy after it successfully docked with Space Station Nasa TV/EPA 6/15 A dummy(L) named Ripley onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard after the opening of the hatch during the Demo-1 missioN Nasa TV/AP 7/15 The SpaceX team watches as the SpaceX Crew Dragon docks with the International Space Station Nasa/AP 8/15 SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket docked with the International Space Station during the Demo-1 mission Nasa/AFP/Getty 9/15 A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft Reuters 10/15 Astronaut David Saint-Jacques taking a look inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying a instrumented dummy Nasa TV/EPA 11/15 A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft lifts off on an uncrewed test flight Reuters 12/15 A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifts off on an uncrewed test flight Reuters 13/15 A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a demo Crew Dragon spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight AP 14/15 SpaceX’s new crew capsule approaches just before docking Nasa TV/AP 15/15 Astronaut Eric Boe, assistant to the chief of the astronaut office for commercial crew, left, and Norm Knight, deputy director of flight operations at Nasa’s Johnson Space Center watch the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft Nasa/AP Dr Kasthuri Venkateswaran, a senior research scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and one of the study’s authors, said: “The ISS is a hermetically sealed closed system, subjected to microgravity, radiation, elevated carbon dioxide and the recirculation of air through HEPA filters, and is considered an ‘extreme environment’.” He noted that microbes are known to survive and even thrive in extreme environments. The microbes that are present on the International Space Station could have been in existence since the station’s inception, he added, while others may be introduced every time new astronauts or payloads arrive. Dr Venkateswaran added: “The influence of the indoor microbiome on human health becomes more important for astronauts during flights due to altered immunity associated with space flight and the lack of sophisticated medical interventions that are available on Earth. “In light of an upcoming new era of human expansion in the universe, such as future space travel to Mars, the microbiome of the closed space environment needs to be examined thoroughly to identify the types of microorganisms that can accumulate in this unique environment, how long they persist and survive, and their impact on human health and spacecraft infrastructure.” Researchers say the study can be used to help improve safety measures that meet NASA requirements for deep space human habitation. 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