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Project Title:  Responses of Microbes and Microbial Communities to Prolonged Exposure to Space Radiation Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2022 
Division: Space Biology 
Research Discipline/Element:
Space Biology: Microbiology  
Start Date: 03/01/2022  
End Date: 02/28/2023  
Task Last Updated: 06/21/2022 
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Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Galazka, Jonathan  Ph.D. / NASA Ames Research Center 
Address:  Space Biosciences Research Division 
Bldg. N239, Rm. 265, MS239-11 
Moffett Field , CA 94035 
Phone: 605-604-3950  
Congressional District: 18 
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Ames Research Center 
Joint Agency:  
Barrick, Jeffrey  Ph.D. University of Texas, Austin 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Internal Project 
Responsible Center: NASA ARC 
Grant Monitor: Loftus, David  
Center Contact: 650-604-1011 
Unique ID: 14860 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2020 Space Biology NNH20ZDA001N-SB E.12. Flight/Ground Research 
Grant/Contract No.: Internal Project 
Project Type: GROUND 
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Space Biology Element: (1) Microbiology
Space Biology Cross-Element Discipline: None
Space Biology Special Category: None
Task Description: The built environment of spaceships is host to a microbial community that affects crew and craft alike. While the static composition of this community has been characterized, and its temporal dynamics examined, the mechanisms controlling its make-up and evolutionary trajectory are not understood. Systematic analyses of microbial diversity such as the "Earth Microbiome Project" and the "Human Microbiome Project" have shown consistent patterns in community composition and function. Understanding the ecological origins of these patterns remains a major challenge, as it requires connecting processes that occur at varying temporal and spatial scales. However, it is clear that the state and trajectories of microbial communities are in-part determined by their physical environments. In this regard, the spaceflight environment includes numerous interacting factors that differentiates it from Earth environments, including an altered atmospheric composition, reduced gravity (and thus altered fluid dynamics), and increased ionizing radiation. These factors impart selective pressures on microbial communities that effect their evolutionary trajectories and thus, the risks and benefits these communities represent to crew and craft. The radiation environment of space leads to chronic exposure to low doses (<0.1 Gy/hr) and is difficult to mimic on Earth. Thus, little is known about how microbial communities in spacecraft will respond and evolve. Therefore, given the limitations of existing studies, we propose to empirically determine how exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation for thousands of cell divisions affects rates of mutation accumulation in microbes and the trajectory of microbial evolution. In this way, we will provide a critical set of data for the design of safe and robust space missions.

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Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2022 
Task Progress: New project for FY2022.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: ) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 None in FY 2022