List of microorganisms tested in outer space

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The survival of some microorganisms exposed to outer space has been studied 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.[2] NASA has pointed out that normal adults have ten times as many microbial cells as human cells in their bodies.[3] They are also nearly everywhere in the environment, and although normally invisible can form slimy biofilms.[3]

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.[4] 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),[2] or their survival on Mars for understanding the likelihood of past or present life on that planet.[2] 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.[5]

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

Table[edit]

  indicates tested in outer space
Organism Type of test References
Low Earth
orbit
Planetary ejection Atmospheric reentry Simulated
conditions
Bacteria & bacterial spores
Actinomyces erythreus
[6]
Aeromonas proteolytica
[7]
Anabaena cylindrica (akinetes)
[8]
Azotobacter chroococcum
[9]
Azotobacter vinelandii
[10]
Bacillus cereus
[11]
Bacillus megaterium
[12]
Bacillus mycoides
[13]
Bacillus pumilus
[13][14]
Bacillus subtilis
[15][16][17][18][19]
Bacillus thuringiensis
[7]
Chroococcidiopsis
[20][21][22][1]
Clostridium botulinum
[12]
Clostridium butyricum
[23][24]
Clostridium celatum
[24]
Clostridium mangenotii
[24]
Clostridium roseum
[24]
Deinococcus geothermalis
[25]
Deinococcus radiodurans
[26][27][28]
Enterobacter aerogenes
[29]
Escherichia coli
[12][24][30][31]
Gloeocapsa
[1]
Gloeocapsopsis pleurocapsoides
[32]
Haloarcula-G
[33]
Hydrogenomonas eutropha
[30]
Klebsiella pneumoniae
[12]
Kocuria rosea
[34]
Lactobacillus plantarum
[35]
Leptolyngbya
[32]
Luteococcus japonicus
[36]
Micrococcus luteus
[36]
Nostoc commune
[1]
Nostoc microscopicum
[32]
Photobacterium
[36]
Pseudomonas aeruginosa
[3][35]
Pseudomonas fluorescens
[35]
Rhodococcus erythropolis
[37]
Rhodospirillum rubrum
[10]
Serratia marcescens
[11]
Serratia plymuthica
[38]
Staphylococcus aureus
[23][35]
Streptococcus mutans
[39]
Streptomyces albus
[35]
Streptomyces coelicolor
[39]
Synechococcus (halite)
[33][40][41]
Symploca
[32]
Tolypothrix byssoidea
[32]
Archaea
Halobacterium noricense
[42][43]
Halobacterium salinarum
[39]
Halococcus dombrowskii
[42]
Halorubrum chaoviatoris
[44][41]
Methanosarcina sp. SA-21/16
[45]
Methanobacterium MC-20
[45]
Methanosarcina barkeri
[45]
Fungi and their spores
Aspergillus niger
[36]
Aspergillus oryzae
[36][26]
Aspergillus versicolor
[46]
Chaetomium globosum
[7]
Mucor plumbeus
[36]
Penicillium roqueforti
[15]
Rhodotorula mucilaginosa
[36]
Sordaria fimicola
[47]
Trebouxia
[48]
Trichoderma koningii
[44]
Trichoderma longibrachiatum
[49]
Trichophyton terrestre
[7]
Ulocladium atrum
[18]
Lichens
Aspicilia fruticulosa
[50]
Circinaria gyrosa
[48]
Rhizocarpon geographicum
[51][48]
Rosenvingiella
[1]
Xanthoria elegans
[52][53][54][55]
Xanthoria parietina
[53]
Bacteriophage/virus
T7 phage
[7]
Canine hepatitis
[56]
Influenza PR8
[56]
Tobacco mosaic virus
[39][56]
Vaccinia virus
[56]
Yeast
Rhodotorula rubra
[7]
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
[7]
Saccharomyces ellipsoides
[30]
Zygosaccharomyces bailii
[30]
Animals
Milnesium tardigradum
[57][58][59]
Richtersius coronifer
[57]

See also[edit]

Misc
Low Earth orbit missions

References[edit]

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