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A gadget for germaphobes in space

NASA develops its own bacteria detector


It's just a guess, but something tells us that consumer gadgets promising to kill bacteria aren't quite strong enough for outer space. NASA apparently agrees, so it's developed its own microorganism detector to warn astronauts when alien bugs might be in the vicinity, according to Medgadget.

Technically named (of course) the "Lab-On-a-Chip Application Development?Portable Test System," it's a handheld device designed to detect bacteria or fungi on spacecraft surfaces far more quickly than standard culturing without the assistance of earth-bound labs, NASA says. This fall, an advanced prototype that can identify 130 microorganisms will be tested in the Arctic.

There's just one question: If we're still debating the existence of extraterrestrial life, how can we be sure what bacteria will thrive in outer space?