List of microorganisms tested in outer space

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The survival of microorganisms exposed to 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]

  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
[5]
Bacillus megaterium
[6]
Bacillus mycoides
[7]
Bacillus pumilus
[7][8]
Bacillus subtilis
[9][10][11][12][13]
Bacillus thuringiensis
[14]
Clostridium botulinum
[6]
Clostridium butyricum
[15][16]
Clostridium celatum
[16]
Clostridium mangenotii
[16]
Clostridium roseum
[16]
Lactobacillus plantarum
[17]
Staphylococcus aureus
[15][17]
Streptococcus mutans
[18]
Kocuria rosea
[19]
Luteococcus japonicus
[20]
Micrococcus luteus
[20]
Streptomyces albus
[17]
Streptomyces coelicolor
[18]
Actinomyces erythreus
[21]
Rhodospirillum rubrum
[22]
Azotobacter chroococcum
[23]
Azotobacter vinelandii
[22]
Enterobacter aerogenes
[24]
Escherichia coli
[6][16][25][26]
Klebsiella pneumoniae
[6]
Photobacterium
[20]
Pseudomonas aeruginosa
[2]
[17]
Pseudomonas fluorescens
[17]
Serratia marcescens
[5]
Serratia plymuthica
[27]
Aeromonas proteolytica
[14]
Hydrogenomonas eutropha
[25]
Deinococcus radiodurans
[28][29][30]
Deinococcus geothermalis
[31]
Rhodococcus erythropolis
[32]
Chroococcidiopsis
[33][34][35]
Synechococcus (halite)
[36][37]
Haloarcula-G
[36]
Anabaena cylindrica (akinetes)
[38]
Archaea
Halobacterium noricense
[39][40]
Halobacterium salinarum
[18]
Halococcus dombrowskii
[39]
Methanosarcina sp. SA-21/16
[41]
Methanosarcina barkeri
[41]
Methanobacterium MC-20
[41]
Halorubrum chaoviatoris
[37]
Fungi and its spores
Chaetomium globosum
[14]
Penicillium roqueforti
[9]
Sordaria fimicola
[42]
Trichophyton terrestre
[14]
Aspergillus niger
[20]
Aspergillus oryzae
[20][28]
Mucor plumbeus
[20]
Rhodotorula mucilaginosa
[20]
Ulocladium atrum
[12]
Trichoderma koningii
[37]
Bacteriophage/virus
T7 phage
[14]
Tobacco mosaic virus
[18][43]
Canine hepatitis
[43]
Influenza PR8
[43]
Vaccinia virus
[43]
Yeast
Rhodotorula rubra
[14]
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
[14]
Saccharomyces ellipsoides
[25]
Zygosaccharomyces bailii
[25]
Lichens
Rhizocarpon geographicum
[44]
Xanthoria elegans
[45][46][47]
Aspicilia fruticulosa
[48]
Xanthoria parietina
[46]
Animals
Milnesium tardigradum
[49][50][51]
Richtersius coronifer
[49]

See also[edit]

Misc
Low Earth orbit missions

References[edit]

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