Keeping space microbes out of the ISS
Russian scientists intend to study whether cosmonauts during a space walk could pick up microorganisms on their space suits and bring them into the International Space Station (ISS), a department head of the Institute for Biological and Medical Issues of the Russian Academy of Sciences said in an interview.
"We are currently planning to conduct an experiment on the ISS dubbed 'Lovushka' ['trap'] to research what particles and microorganisms 'stick' to the surface of the station; as well as an experiment 'Episcaph' to explore the possibility of cosmonauts picking up such microorganisms on their space suits and bringing them inside the station upon returning from a spacewalk", Vyacheslav Ilyin said.
According to the scientist, the ISS' outer hull is home to various microorganisms that could have come from Earth's atmosphere, including spores of microorganisms living in the soil.
"They are indeed not pathogenic, and there is nothing wrong with them. But who knows what might happen with them there", he added.
One should not rule out that a saprophyte can change its behaviour in the absence of habitual food sources, Ilyin explained.
Source: RIA Novosti