Our Celestial Bodies: Tracking the Microbiome of Astronauts in Space

Astronaut Scott Kelly in space
Astronaut Scott Kelly in space from Morris 2019

Jumping into the Black Hole…

Space, it’s the final frontier. Since 1961 when the first humans entered space, we’ve been curious about it’s potential. Will the moon become the next hot tourist destination? Could militarization of space be possible? What about colonization of another planet? However, to address any of these questions, we first need to confidently answer the question “can we even survive space?’ Many studies have been done on the impact of spaceflight on the human body, from bone mass and biochemistry to changes in the signaling system within the brain. However, apart from a small portion of the NASA Twins Study (more information on this study here), very little research has been conducted on the effects of spaceflight on the microbiome. In recent years the human microbiome, or collection of all microbiota living within and on our bodies, has been at the forefront of medical research and researchers are now able to link changes in the microbiome with diseases like diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and preterm birth (The iHMP Research Network Consortium 2014).   Continue reading “Our Celestial Bodies: Tracking the Microbiome of Astronauts in Space”