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ISS Space

The International Space Station is Super Germy (washingtonpost.com) 88

Thousands of species have colonized the International Space Station -- and only one of them is Homo sapiens. From a report: According to a new study in the journal PeerJ, the interior surfaces of the 17-year-old, 250-mile-high, airtight space station harbor at least 1,000 and perhaps more than 4,000 microbe species (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternative source ) -- a finding that is actually "reassuring," according to co-author David Coil. "Diversity is generally associated with a healthy ecosystem," said the University of California at Davis microbiologist. A varied population of microscopic inhabitants is probably a signature of a healthy spacecraft, he added. And as humanity considers even longer ventures in space -- such as an 18-month voyage to Mars -- scientists must understand who these microbes are. The samples for Coil's paper were collected in 2014 as part of the citizen science program Project MERCCURI. The initiative, conceived by a group of National Football League and National Basketball Association cheerleaders who are also scientists and engineers, involved swabbing down dozens of professional sports stadiums, identifying the microbes in the samples, and sending those species to the ISS to see whether they would thrive. (Bacillus aryabhatti, collected from a practice football field used by the Oakland Raiders, grew fastest.)

The International Space Station is Super Germy

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  • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @11:26AM (#55688137) Journal

    So was Mir. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • If you rotate humans from five nation space agencies in and out of a bunch of sealed tubes over nearly 20 years, germs happen. Who knew? I thought that only happened on airplanes /s.
    • "If you rotate humans from five nation space agencies in and out of a bunch of sealed tubes over nearly 20 years, germs happen."

      Perhaps it's about time they rotate in a cleaning lady.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @11:28AM (#55688163)

    Cheerleaders who are also scientists and engineers... a dream come true! Names, phonenumbers......?

    Caption: response :-)

  • Wonder what that pink stuff growing on the bottom of my shower curtain is worth.

    It LAUGHS at Puny Bleach!

  • Man, my 15 year old self is sporting a big woody.

  • Is that a lot? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @11:47AM (#55688293) Homepage Journal
    Numbers like 1,000 and 4,000 are reasonably big for human scale things, but could be absolutely tiny in the microbe realm. IIRC humans have over a thousand different types of bacteria in our gut alone. That "super germy" figure could be the result of a single fart.
  • People are germy. The space station contains people.

    That, and to germs, we are the space station. The bacterial cells alone outnumber human cells by roughly 10 to 1. Viruses are so absurdly numerous beyond even that, that it's difficult to consistently measure. Heck, the viruses that attack us are almost always a misfire of them preying on their actual target mechanisms - the bacteria living in us.

    Nothing particularly dangerous in the space station having pockets of germs, in context. They aren't espec

  • My mind filled in the blanks and made me read the authors name as David E Coli
  • Lysol. Hey NASA want to send me a check for it?
  • by ledow ( 319597 )

    Or.

    The ISS is as germy as one would expect such an environment to be, in line with most of the predictions and hopes of the scientists involved, given it's history and cleanliness.

    I realise that doesn't have the snap of "super-germy" but it is, at least, vaguely accurate.

  • People will talk of being in orbit as being in "zero-g" but they experience gravity like everyone else but the forces from traveling at such incredible speeds cancels out the gravity. Think of throwing a ball and how at the top of it's arc of travel all the forces equal and for a small period of time all forces on it are nearly zero. The higher a ball is thrown the longer this period. Put something on top of a missile and get it high and fast enough this period of time of where all forces acting on it ar

    • but the forces from traveling at such incredible speeds cancels out the gravity.

      Umm, no. "Free fall" is a much more useful term, since it describes what actually happens - we fall toward the ground and miss.

      No, there are no "forces from traveling at such incredible speeds" involved. Just gravity. And going fast enough to miss the ground....

    • People will talk of being in orbit as being in "zero-g" but they experience gravity like everyone else but the forces from traveling at such incredible speeds cancels out the gravity.

      This is a terrible description. Bordering on nonsense. There is no "force from traveling at such incredible speeds", and nothing "cancels out gravity".

      What's happening is that the ISS and everything in it are both constantly accelerating towards the earth (falling, hence the name "free fall") and moving at high speed perpendicular to the direction of the fall. Essentially, this perpendicular velocity means that they continually "miss" the Earth as they fall. More precisely, the effect of the gravitationa

      • I made a very simplistic explanation of the conditions on the ISS in an attempt to set up a pun as best I could without being too wordy. It's a stupid joke, lighten up.

        The condition is called "missile toe", get it? Say it out loud if you have to. It rhymes with "mistletoe". Get it now?

        Have a Merry Christmas.

  • "Thousands of species have colonized the International Space Station -- and only one of them is Homo sapiens".

    Incorrect, silly man!

    Homo Sapiens - at least healthy specimens - themselves carry around thousands of species of bacteria, viruses and fungi. It's become a cliche that you have ten times as many bacterial cells as human ones - and if you somehow managed to get rid of all the bacteria, you would die.

    • With the microbes reproducing on the surfaces, it could also be argued that they've colonized the station far better than the humans that have to return to earth regularly to complete their life cycle.
  • How about they send Tony Bennett up there and see if they all catch herpes.
  • I would be incredibly confused is Homo Sapiens somehow made up more than of of the species.

  • (Bacillus aryabhatti, collected from a practice football field used by the Oakland Raiders, grew fastest.)

    Seeing the fans in the stands, I have no doubt that the Oakland/LosAngeles/Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders are the germiest organization in pro football. As a 49er fan, I just couldn't resist taking a shot at the Raiders :-)

One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word. -- Robert Heinlein

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