Mars Dome – a cool closed system

According to a recent BBC news article, NASA is doing a Mars simulation project to see if six live human beings can survive being isolated in a dome together. From a MoBE perspective, it would be cool to study this system. It’s completely closed to outside microbes – the people living in this dome have to …

Workshop on Planetary Protection Knowledge Gaps for Human Extraterrestrial Missions (Intro)

reposted from jennomics.com http://www.nasa.gov/ames/events/ppw2015workshop/#.VRMLLJPF8mU I’m at a NASA Ames workshop this week. The goal is to have a discussion about planetary protection with respect to human spaceflight, in particular to Mars, mostly during a “sample and return” mission and a little bit about human habitation on Mars. I’m tweeting with #planetaryprotection. There’s also live streaming here: …

IBM and Mars kick off new food-supply sequencing project

IBM and Mars put out a joint press release today announcing a new effort to use metagenomics to study microorganisms in the food supply chain. The new initiative, called the Sequencing the Food Supply Chain Consortium (SFSC), will use metagenomics and metatranscriptomics to establish what they call a “microbial baseline” that can later be used …

Planning some space travel? Don’t forget your microbes

For many years I have been worried about how space travel will affect microbiomes – of the space vehicles and of the residents (people, other animals, plants, etc).  This is one of the reasons we started Project MERCCURI and get involved in looking at the microbes on the International Space Station.  It is also why …

Interesting though very incomplete story in Nature on Curiosity Rover (before launch)

Just pointed to this story: Microbial stowaways to Mars identified : Nature News & Comment by Darlene Cavalier, our collaborator on the “Space Microbes” Project MERCCURI.  The article reports on a presentation by Stephanie Smith at the ASM 2014 meeting going on in Boston.  Smith presented results from characterizing (via culturing) the microbes present on various parts …

Fungi, Bacteria, and ArcheaArchaea on “clean” hardware destined for Mars

Here’s a case where just the title of an article is awesome: “Pyrosequencing-Derived Bacterial, Archaeal, and Fungal Diversity of Spacecraft Hardware Destined for Mars”.  Sadly it’s not open access but the abstract is worth a read at a minimum. The authors conducted environmental surveys in cleanrooms and of equipment destined for Mars.  Basically they found that …