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The Past, Present, and Future of NASA Research into Microbes in Space

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Space microbiology, or the study of microorganisms in space, has significant applications for both human spaceflight and Earth-based medicine. This thesis traces the evolution of the field of space microbiology since its creation in 1935. Beginning with simple studies to

Space microbiology, or the study of microorganisms in space, has significant applications for both human spaceflight and Earth-based medicine. This thesis traces the evolution of the field of space microbiology since its creation in 1935. Beginning with simple studies to determine if terrestrial life could survive spaceflight, the field of space microbiology has grown to encompass a substantial body of work that is now recognized as an essential component of NASA' research endeavors. Part one provides an overview of the early period of space microbiology, from high-altitude balloon and rocket studies to work conducted during the Apollo program. Part two summarizes the current state of the field, with a specific focus on the revolutionary contributions made by the Nickerson lab at the Biodesign Institute at ASU using the NASA-designed Rotating Wall Vessel (RWV) Bioreactor. Finally, part three highlights the research I've conducted in the Nickerson lab, as well as continuing studies within the field of space microbiology.

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2016-05