List of microorganisms tested in outer space

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The survival of microorganisms in outer space has been studied extensively using both simulated facilities and low Earth orbit exposures. A large number of microorganisms have been selected for exposure experiments, as listed in the table below.

It is possible to classify these microorganisms into two groups, the human-borne, and the extremophiles. Studying the human-borne microorganisms is significant for human welfare and future manned missions in space; whilst the extremophiles are vital for studying the physiological requirements of survival in space.[1] NASA has pointed out that normal adults have ten times as many microbial cells as human cells in their bodies.[2] There are also nearly everywhere in the environment, and although normally invisible can form slimy biofilms.[2]

Extremophiles have adapted to live in some of the most extreme environments on Earth. This includes hypersaline lakes, arid regions, deep sea, acidic sites, cold and dry polar regions and permafrost.[3] The existence of extremophiles has led to the speculation that microorganisms could survive the harsh conditions of extraterrestrial environments and be used as model organisms to understand the fate of biological systems in these environments. The focus of many of the experiments has been to investigate the possible survival of organisms inside rocks (lithopanspermia),[1] or their survival on Mars for understanding the likelihood of past or present life on that planet.[1] Because of their ubiquity and resistance to spacecraft decontamination, bacterial spores are considered likely potential forward contaminants on robotic missions to Mars. Measuring the resistance of such organisms to space conditions can be applied to develop adequate decontamination procedures.[4]

Research and testing of microorganisms in outer space could eventually be applied for directed panspermia or terraforming.

Table[edit]

 Check mark 23x20 02.svg indicates tested in outer space
Type of test
Organism Type of test References
Low Earth
orbit
Planetary ejection Atmospheric reentry simulation
conditions
Bacteria & bacterial spores
Bacillus cereus
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[5]
Bacillus megaterium
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[6]
Bacillus mycoides
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[7]
Bacillus pumilus
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[7][8]
Bacillus subtilis
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[9][10][11][12][13]
Bacillus thuringiensis
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[14]
Clostridium botulinum
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[6]
Clostridium butyricum
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[15][16]
Clostridium celatum
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[16]
Clostridium mangenotii
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[16]
Clostridium roseum
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[16]
Lactobacillus plantarum
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[17]
Staphylococcus aureus
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[15][17]
Streptococcus mutans
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[18]
Kocuria rosea
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[19]
Luteococcus japonicus
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[20]
Micrococcus luteus
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[20]
Streptomyces albus
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[17]
Streptomyces coelicolor
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[18]
Actinomyces erythreus
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[21]
Rhodospirillum rubrum
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[22]
Azotobacter chroococcum
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[23]
Azotobacter vinelandii
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[22]
Enterobacter aerogenes
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[24]
Escherichia coli
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[6][16][25][26]
Klebsiella pneumoniae
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[6]
Photobacterium sp.
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[20]
Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[2]
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[17]
Pseudomonas fluorescens
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[17]
Serratia marcescens
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[5]
Serratia plymuthica
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[27]
Aeromonas proteolytica
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[14]
Hydrogenomonas eutropha
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[25]
Deinococcus radiodurans
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[28][29][30]
Rhodococcus erythropolis
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[31]
Chroococcidiopsis sp.
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[32][33][34]
Synechococcus (halite)
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[35][36]
Haloarcula-G
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[35]
Anabaena cylindrica (akinetes)
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[37]
Archaea
Halobacterium sp.
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[38]
Halobacterium salinarum
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[18]
Halococcus dombrowskii
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[38]
Methanosarcina sp. SA-21/16
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[39]
Methanosarcina barkeri
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[39]
Methanobacterium MC-20
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[39]
Halorubrum chaoviatoris
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[36]
Fungi and its spores
Chaetomium globosum
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[14]
Penicillium roqueforti
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[9]
Sordaria fimicola
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[40]
Trichophyton terrestre
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[14]
Aspergillus niger
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[20]
Aspergillus oryzae
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[20][28]
Mucor plumbeus
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[20]
Rhodotorula mucilaginosa
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[20]
Ulocladium atrum
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[12]
Trichoderma koningii
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[36]
Bacteriophage/virus
T7 phage
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[14]
Tobacco mosaic virus
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[18][41]
Canine hepatitis
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[41]
Influenza PR8
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[41]
Vaccinia virus
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[41]
Yeast
Rhodotorula rubra
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[14]
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[14]
Saccharomyces mitis
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[25]
Zygosaccharomyces bailii
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[25]
Lichens
Rhizocarpon geographicum
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[42]
Xanthoria elegans
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[43][44][45]
Aspicilia fruticulosa
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[46]
Xanthoria parietina
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[44]
Animals
Milnesium tardigradum
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[47][48][49]
Richtersius coronifer
Check mark 23x20 02.svg
[47]

See also[edit]

Misc
Low Earth orbit missions

References[edit]

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