and Space Station 2020
play an important role in our lives and if we live on a Space
Station it will be no different. Microbes will be
there too, interacting with us, helping us, hindering us, and
potentially causing us serious problems such as illnesses.
the Space Station, we will certainly experiment
with micro-organisms and we will use them to make some of
the special products, that can only be manufactured in space,
or made most economically in space. They will also
be put to use in the everyday functioning of the Space Station.
This will include the recycling of solid
waste products - discarded food and feces, for instance,
the purification of water and air, and possibly the production
of food and medicines. In all these instances,
microbes will assist and benefit those aboard and in the day to
day operation of the Station.
will also be unwelcome microbes aboard. These will
include the obvious ones, such as pathogens
that can cause illness, and others
that you may not have thought about. For instance,
bacteria can degrade metal by helping it to corrode.
Similarly, there are bacteria and micro-fungi that can destroy
the synthetic rubber of the airlock seals, around the entry hatches,
which would allow air to escape from the Station.
Both consequences could be lethal in Space. Micro-fungi
can also inhabit condensation - a common occurrence on space stations
- and release unpleasant spores into the environment.
Likewise they, like bacteria, can enter food and cause it
source of many of these undesirable microbes will be the crew.
Microbes love people. They can feed and grow very
well on humans! Unfortunately however hard a person
tries, by bathing and disinfecting, they will never be able to
rid themselves of their unwanted passengers. But while
this might be the case, it is also true that good hygienic practices
help in keeping microbes in their place and from becoming too
big a problem.
microbes can assist:
microbes are a hazard:
and manufacture of products
how might we manage and control our microbes on Space Station
sickness among the crew
the spacecraft structure
the spacecraft systems
factors are important: