Explanation of altered bacterial behavior in space

Photo: Astronaut Mike Hopkins operating one of the GAPs containing the AES-1 experiment onboard ISS (credit: NASA).

Bacteria behave differently in space, what was theorized to be a result of reduced mass transport in the local extracellular environment. Although there is no sufficient evidence to definitively confirm this explanation, a great step towards confirming the mentioned theory was made as a result of recent research published in PLOS ONE.

Investigation of samples that returned on SpaceX-3 and SpaceX-4, lead by Luis Zea from BioServe Space Technologies (a center within the Aerospace Engineering and Sciences Department at the University of Colorado) indicated that cells in space were under starvation conditions.

This new information could prove valuable when planning future long duration expeditions to the Moon and Mars.