ICYMI: Microgravity in space reveals hidden microbes

Fecal sample analysis reveals unusual changes wrought by space travel

November 1, 2022

@theBradbury November Opt
(Left to right) Rhodium Scientific’s Olivia Gamez Holzhaus and Heath Mills with Los Alamos National Laboratory collaborators Armand Dichosa and Anand Kumar.

A mission on board the Space X Crew 5 rocket is aimed at helping explain how the human gut’s microbiome changes while astronauts are in space. The goal is to better prepare humans to stay healthy during space travel. The experiment, launched into space Oct. 5 after a hurricane delay, is the second of its kind in a study of how microgravity affects the human microbiome. The study is a partnership of Los Alamos National Laboratory with Rhodium Scientific and sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and International Space Station National Laboratory (ISSNL). Rhodium Scientific is a woman-owned biotechnology company with a strategic partnership agreement with Los Alamos to facilitate science missions in space.

“The results of our first experiment showed that some bacteria thrived and grew more in microgravity conditions, while others were depleted,” explained Los Alamos biologist Armand Dichosa. “Further, our preliminary evidence suggests that some of the bacteria that thrived are potentially pathogenic and others are potentially beneficial.”

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