January 25th, 2024

Microbial Hitchhikers on the ISS: New Investigation to Survey Bacteria in Space Station's Water Supply

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The miniPCR thermal cycler, part of the Genes in Space Toolkit floating in the Cupola of the ISS

Have you ever wondered what microscopic companions might be lurking aboard the International Space Station (ISS)? A new investigation from Boeing, NASA, and the ISS National Laboratory®, named GISMOS, is scheduled to launch Monday, January 29th, for the ISS to find out! This exciting project will utilize the Genes in Space Toolkit to conduct a biological survey on the ISS that could be the basis for many future Genes in Space investigations.

Instead of sending water samples back to Earth for analysis, GISMOS will take a more streamlined approach. Astronauts will directly collect and analyze the genomes of microbes from the ISS’s water system. Understanding this microbial community is crucial for maintaining a safe and healthy environment for astronauts. By learning more about the types and behaviors of these tiny space travelers, we can develop better methods for water treatment and monitoring, ensuring a clean and reliable water supply for future space missions.

Read more about this upcoming investigation here!