Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > NASA Studies How Spaceflight Affects Bacteria

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

Abstract:
Every day, each of us comes into contact with bacteria, just like the astronauts in space.

When space shuttle Atlantis launches, currently scheduled for May 14, 2010, it will carry an experiment to study how microgravity affects bacterial growth and the formation of surface films. Funded by NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., a team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy, N.Y., will conduct the experiment.

NASA Studies How Spaceflight Affects Bacteria

Moffett Field, CA | Posted on May 12th, 2010

As astronauts are spending more time at the International Space Station and long-term spaceflight becomes closer to a reality, it is important to understand the long-term effects of bacteria on human beings and spacecraft materials, including those organisms and interactions that would likely be harmless on Earth," said RPI Professor Cynthia Collins, who leads the team of scientists working on the experiment.

The study will focus on microbes, including bacteria that play an essential role in human health, from digestion to proper immune system function. Because of these important roles, maintaining a spacecraft and the ISS microbe free is neither possible nor desirable.

The community of microbes that live in the human body is not simply composed of organisms that are beneficial for human life, but also harbors many bacteria that are potentially capable of causing disease. "It is essential that we study microbes, their behavior in space, their role in biofilm formation, for example spacecraft surfaces, and ultimately their potential impact on the health of an astronaut," said Collins.

The Micro-2 experiment will study how gravity alters biofilm formation with the goal of developing new strategies to reduce their impact on maintaining and operating spacecraft and crew health. Bacterial biofilms, complex three-dimensional microbial communities formed on many types of surfaces, were responsible for increasing corrosion and damaging a water purification system on the Mir space station.

Since astronauts have been shown to exhibit a decrease in immune system function during spaceflight, scientists want to study how bacteria, especially those that form biofilms, respond to microgravity. According to the team of scientists from RPI, the development of biofilms is of great concern because by forming biofilms, bacteria increase their resistance to antibiotics, thereby enhancing their chances of survival in hostile environments and becoming more infectious and dangerous to human health.

Biofilms routinely grow large enough to be affected by gravity. "Growing biofilms in microgravity will provide tremendous insight into how gravitational forces acting on biofilms can lead to changes in processes occurring at a cellular level," says RPI Professor Joel Plawsky, a project co-investigator.

The Micro-2 experiment also will test new nanotechnology-based coatings that have the potential to decrease biofilm growth. "Using defense mechanisms found in nature, we have ‘packaged' highly efficient bactericidal activity into functional surface coatings. These surfaces do not cause toxic agents to be released, thereby providing a surface that is safe to humans but effective in destroying pathogenic bacteria", explained RPI Professor Jonathan Dordick, co-investigator.

The Micro-2 experiment uses BioServe Space Technologies flight-certified hardware. There will be 16 Group Activation Packs onboard space shuttle Atlantis and a control group consisting of 16 packs on the ground at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Each will be activated to enable the bacteria to grow and subsequently be preserved for post-flight processing upon the space shuttle's return.

The Micro-2 experiment is managed and funded by the ISS Non-Exploration Research Projects Office located at NASA Ames Research Center.

For more information on the Micro-2 experiment, visit: spacebiosciences.arc.nasa.gov/micro2.html

For more information about the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, visit: www.rpi.edu/

For more information about NASA Ames visit: www.nasa.gov/ames

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Karen Hanner
Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, Calif.
650.604.4034

Copyright © NASA

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Silicene Labs Announces the Launch of Patent-Pending, 2D Materials Composite Index™ : The Initial 2D Materials Composite Index™ for Q2 2014 Is: 857.3; Founders Include World-Renowned Physicist and Seasoned Business and IP Professionals July 24th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Produce Transparent Nanocomposite Coatings with Longer Lifetime July 24th, 2014

Deadline Announced for Registration in 7th Int'l Nanotechnology Festival in Iran July 23rd, 2014

A Crystal Wedding in the Nanocosmos July 23rd, 2014

Nanomedicine

Researchers create vaccine for dust-mite allergies Main Page Content: Vaccine reduced lung inflammation to allergens in lab and animal tests July 22nd, 2014

NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast July 22nd, 2014

SentiMag® Now Available in Australia and New Zealand July 21st, 2014

More than glitter: Scientists explain how gold nanoparticles easily penetrate cells, making them useful for delivering drugs July 21st, 2014

Announcements

Silicene Labs Announces the Launch of Patent-Pending, 2D Materials Composite Index™ : The Initial 2D Materials Composite Index™ for Q2 2014 Is: 857.3; Founders Include World-Renowned Physicist and Seasoned Business and IP Professionals July 24th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Produce Transparent Nanocomposite Coatings with Longer Lifetime July 24th, 2014

Deadline Announced for Registration in 7th Int'l Nanotechnology Festival in Iran July 23rd, 2014

A Crystal Wedding in the Nanocosmos July 23rd, 2014

Aerospace/Space

National Space Society Calls For Less US Dependence On Russian Space Technology July 15th, 2014

Motorized Miniature Screw-Actuator Provides 20 nm Resolution, Based on Piezo Effect July 8th, 2014

NSS Pays Tribute to Space Pioneer Frederick I. Ordway III July 7th, 2014

Up in Flames: Evidence Confirms Combustion Theory: Berkeley Lab and University of Hawaii research outlines the story of soot, with implications for cleaner-burning fuels July 1st, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Production of Non-Virus Nanocarriers with Highest Amount of Gene Delivery July 17th, 2014

Physicists Use Computer Models to Reveal Quantum Effects in Biological Oxygen Transport: The team solved a long-standing question by explaining why oxygen – and not deadly carbon monoxide – preferably binds to the proteins that transport it around the body. July 17th, 2014

Tiny DNA pyramids enter bacteria easily -- and deliver a deadly payload July 9th, 2014

Artificial cilia: Scientists from Kiel University develop nano-structured transportation system July 4th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE