As if space wasn’t already dangerous enough, some newly reported research on bacterial growth in orbit indicates some strains of microorganisms can thrive in zero gravity, even if they are deprived of nutrients. This could change the way astronauts prepare for and live in space, especially as the prospect of long-term space flight becomes more real.
The research was centered around the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is a gram-negative organism common in soil, water, and on the skin. It is responsible for many opportunistic infections of the skin, urinary tract, and lungs in humans, and is capable of forming hearty biofilms that contaminate medical instruments, even surviving repeated cleanings.
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