Microbial succession in an inflated lunar/Mars analog habitat during a 30-day human occupation.

Imported: 03 Jun '16 | Published: 03 Jun '16

Teresa T Mayer, Adriana A Blachowicz, Alexander J AJ Probst, Parag P Vaishampayan, Aleksandra A Checinska, Tiffany T Swarmer, Pablo P de Leon, Kasthuri K Venkateswaran


Abstract: For potential future human missions to the Moon or Mars and sustained presence in the International Space Station, a safe enclosed habitat environment for astronauts is required. Potential microbial contamination of closed habitats presents a risk for crewmembers due to reduced human immune response during long-term confinement. To make future habitat designs safer for crewmembers, lessons learned from characterizing analogous habitats is very critical. One of the key issues is that how human presence influences the accumulation of microorganisms in the closed habitat.Molecular technologies, along with traditional microbiological methods, were utilized to catalog microbial succession during a 30-day human occupation of a simulated inflatable lunar/Mars habitat. Surface samples were collected at different time points to capture the complete spectrum of viable and potential opportunistic pathogenic bacterial population. Traditional cultivation, propidium monoazide (PMA)-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) assays were employed to estimate the cultivable, viable, and metabolically active microbial population, respectively. Next-generation sequencing was used to elucidate the microbial dynamics and community profiles at different locations of the habitat during varying time points. Statistical analyses confirm that occupation time has a strong influence on bacterial community profiles.... Read More

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