Salmonella in space

One small step for man. One big step for single-celled organisms.

NASA will send colonies of three different microbes into space on a space shuttle launch slated for August 27. No, it's not to see if humans could one day live off of chicken salad on Jupiter. The human immune system can be weakened in zero gravity environments while microbes become more virulent, according to some studies. Better information on how microbes survive and their genetic adaptability could lead to better ways to fight diseases in space and on earth.

Researchers will study three organisms--Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans--have been identified as potential threats to crew health.

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by Brian Tong