NASA takes extraordinary measures to keep particulates and microbes away from spacecraft, but on an upcoming mission NASA will be sending microbes to space.
The micro gravity environment of the International Space Station provides a unique environment for scientific testing. Project MERCCURI (Microbial Ecology Research Combining Citizen and University Researchers on ISS) is a new crowd- sourced science experiment that will be sending bacteria to the ISS via the Space X-3 mission which will be arriving later this month.
What makes this experiment unique is that the bacteria being sent to space was collected from some very unique places. Some of these samples were collected from people walking down the street and from a handful of major sports arenas across the U.S. These samples were collected in part through a scientific community that is comprised of former cheerleaders that are now pursuing science.
The microbes sent into space are considered “neutral” and aren’t harmful to humans. Microbes are essentially everywhere, and Project MERCCURI will be studying how the microbes behave in space. Check out this video with the lead researcher Dr. David Coil:
You can learn more about Project MERCCURI at http://spacemicrobes.org/