Survival of micro-organisms in space
Dried suspensions ofPenicillium roqueforti Thom, Coliphage T-1,Bacillus subtilis and tobacco mosaic virus were exposed to space on board the Gemini-IX-A and XII earth satellites and the Agena-VIII space rocket. All micro-organisms tested survived the direct exposure during the Gemini-IX-A experiment. In the Gemini-XII experiment only the T-1 phage survived the direct exposure. The survival was influenced by the suspending medium and depended on the species of the microorganism. After four months of space flight on the Agena-VIII space rocket surviving fractions between 2×10−3 and 1.0 were found in the unopened flight container. However, micro-organisms exposed on the cover of the container during this period were completely inactivated. Shielding against solar ultraviolet radiation during flight resulted in survival of micro-organisms exceeding to that of the transport controls, and the survival was considered complete.
Sterile methylcellulose collection surfaces were exposed to space on board the Gemini-IX-A and XII satellites in an attempt to collect viable micro-organisms in space. None of the collection surfaces yielded viable micro-organisms.
KeywordsRadiation Organic Chemistry Geochemistry Bacillus Mosaic Virus
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