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Russian researchers: ISS home to more than 20 types of microorganisms

After studying more than 200 samples from ISS brought back to Russia, researchers have identified more than 20 types of microorganisms that make their home on ISS, including some pathogens and fungi.

The habitat of the module and the entire Russian segment of the ISS is an environmental niche home to bacteria and microscopic fungi, the materials suggest. “These microorganisms use the station’s decorative-finishing and design materials as their basic habitat,” according to the materials.

The experiment aboard the ISS involved taking samples and delivering them to Earth in descent modules. In the course of three years, over 200 samples were taken, with bacteria discovered in 34% and fungi in 3% of them. “In 5% of the samples with the presence of bacterial microflora and in 100% of the samples with the presence of fungal microflora, the standard indicator regulated by SSP 50260 NORD was exceeded,” the materials say.

The fungi indicate mold, a long known problem on manned space stations first identified by the Russians on their Salyut stations in the ’70s and ’80s. The pathogens do not appear to be harmful, or else the astronauts would have experienced sicknesses. No such sicknesses have been reported, though they might have occurred but have not been released publicly due to medical privacy concerns.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


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  • BtB’s Original Mark

    I wonder if they found Toenail fungus since that infection is one of the most common foot ailments.

  • jburn

    Anyone remember the old Peanuts cartoon character named Pig Pen?

    Yeah, that’s us – effusing bio bombs and terra forming wherever we go.

  • Alton

    To go Where No MAN has Gone before!!!

    But you do not need clean boots to tred……

    Life there !

  • Daniel Kaczynski

    It seems to me that this is going to be a serious problem in the future.
    We will inevitably contaminate other parts of the Solar System. Is there
    life on Mars? Well, maybe there is and maybe there isn’t, but there certainly
    will be life on Mars ( and not only human life ) once we get there.

  • GaryMike


    What are we supposed to protect if not ourselves?

    I say to the Universe, “We’re here, and we’re coming. Protect sterility as best you can; not our problem.”

  • John

    Note to self: Do not let Russian researchers sample my bathroom.

  • David M. Cook

    This will be a larger problem in the future, as more & more habitation modules are launched and occupied for longer periods. I‘ve been thinking about this ever since I read “Dragonfly”, and I‘m guessing we will need to simply replace old, dirty habitation modules with new ones, as it will be impossible to completely clean the old ones.

  • wayne

    Very interesting.
    Considering these organisms are very old from an evolutionary perspective, and humans have co-existed with them, it’s no surprise they follow along.
    I’m glad somebody is researching this.

    being totally fanciful for a moment:
    Cats In Space–we’re going to have to surmount those challenges, cuz’ mice & rodents will inevitably be a problem. (longer term)

  • wayne: See this BtB post:

    Crowdfunding campaign to honor only cat to fly in space

    I think I posted an evening pause at some point showing film footage from this suborbital flight, but can’t find it.

  • Below is a French video describing the flight:

  • wayne

    Mr. Z.,
    Cats In Space–>Good stuff!

  • Bacteria Fan

    I’m going to be a definition nazi: “The pathogens do not appear to be harmful,” then by definition they are not pathogens. It is a common misuse of the word but most bacteria in the world are not pathogenic unless the individual is immuno-compromised.

    I suspect the bacteria found in the ISS are also somewhere on this list,

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