Yesterday was to have been the day that our collection of 48 microbes, collected from built environments around the country, were to blast off into space and try growing in microgravity. This would be followed by swabbing of the space station performed by the astronauts. We plan to analyze these swabs using bacterial, archaeal, and fungal primers. These results will also be compared to the 4000 earth-based samples that we’re collecting and analyzing with the help of Jack Gilbert and the Earth Microbiome Project.
Alas, rocket science appears to be hard and the launch was cancelled for what I believe is the 7th time. Except this time it was only an hour before launch and we were all in Florida ready to watch it. Next launch window is Friday afternoon so we’ll see what happens then. Jenna Lang has made a storify from the #spacemicrobes hashtag yesterday: