For First Time, Unknown Microbes Were Identified By Astronauts In Space
Astronauts onboard the ISS (International Space Station) have for the foremost time recognized microbes in the space without needing to send samples for tests back to Earth. The capability to detect microbes in the space can benefit in the facility to analyze and treat diseases of astronaut in real time, and also help in the recognition of DNA-based life on the other planets.
It can also help other experiments onboard the revolving lab. Detecting microbes implicate segregating the DNA of specimens and then amplifying that DNA that can be further identified, or sequenced. The examination was divided into 2 sections: collecting the microbial specimens and amplification by PCR process, then sequencing and detection of the microbes.
Peggy Whitson, the NASA astronaut, carried out the examination onboard the revolving lab with Sarah Wallace—NASA microbiologist and the Principal Investigator of the project—and her team observing and directing her from the United States. As part of the systematic microbial observing, Petri plates were brought in contact with several space station surfaces. Around a week later, functioning within the Microgravity Science Glovebox, Whitson shifted cells from the developing bacterial colonies on those Petri plates into tiny test tubes, which was never been performed in space before.
After the cells were collected successfully, it was time to segregate the DNA and arrange it for sequencing, allowing the recognition of the unidentified organisms. The MinION device was utilized for sequencing the amplified DNA. The information was downlinked in Houston to the team for examination and recognition.
Soon after, the specimens were sent back to the Earth. Sequencing and biochemical tests were carried out in the ground laboratories to validate the results from the space station. The research team carried out tests several times to ascertain accurateness. Every time, the findings were accurately the similar on the ground lab as in orbit.