Microbiological research has made important discoveries about how life responds to non-terrestrial environments, such as those found aboard the International Space Station. As human space exploration transitions to longer, deep-space missions, microorganisms will continue to play an increasingly critical role in astronaut health, habitat sustainability and mission success.
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C.A.N., J.B. and C.M.O. were funded by NASA grants NNX15AL06G, NNX17AC79G, 80NSSC18K1478 (includes NASA PECASE funding to J.B.) and 80NSSC20K0016. Many of the topics discussed here were the focus of a Nature conference, The Microbiology of Human Spaceflight, held at the NASA Johnson Space Center in June, 2019; we thank the participants of that conference for their ideas and discussions (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/the-microbiology-of-human-spaceflight-conference-proceedings).
C.A.N. is the editor-in-chief for npj Microgravity, C.M.O. is deputy editor and J.B. is an editor.
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Nickerson, C.A., Medina-Colorado, A.A., Barrila, J. et al. A vision for spaceflight microbiology to enable human health and habitat sustainability. Nat Microbiol 7, 471–474 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-021-01015-6