Bacteria on the International Space Station are being developed and transformed in an unusual orbital environment. However, the new study states that they should not expect increased danger. This is great news for astronauts, because previous studies have suggested that space travel can cause certain microbes to turn into strains harmful to humans.
There have been many assumptions about radiation, microgravity and lack of ventilation, as well as how all of this will affect living organisms, including bacteria. Such stressful conditions led scientists to wonder whether space flight would not increase the likelihood that bacteria transform into super-resistant organisms aimed at survival at any cost.
In the new study give a negative answer. Experts analyzed the DNA of two types of bacteria that went to the ISS: Staphylococcus aureus (found on the skin and leads to staphylococcal infections) and Wax Bacillus (located in the digestive system and the soil without causing harm). Both microbes were extracted from the environment of the space station. Most likely, they arrived there on the skin of astronauts or inside their bodies. The analysis showed that bacteria mutated differently than their terrestrial counterparts. That is, they did not have any supernatural abilities (they did not become resistant to antibiotics). On Earth, bacteria are usually released from human bodies and transformed to survive in new conditions. Scientists are very worried that conditions in spacecraft, where people breathe the same air for months, can lead to critical changes.
Now it seems that the changes do not lead to any deviations that can cause diseases that are difficult to treat. This is great news for long-term space travel. Let us not forget that an outbreak of an epidemic on a ship heading for Mars will become a serious problem, since we cannot wait for help from Earth. Now the bacterial risk does not seem to be a big danger, and it is possible to shift attention to solving other problems.