According to the information presented by NASA, the International Space Station or ISS is currently threatened by bacterial and fungal attacks. The statement was supported by the results of a recent study that revealed that the ISS was filled with bacteria and fungi. This adds to an earlier warning that said there was an attack that lived inside an orbiting space base. Based on the results of research that has been done, bacteria in the space station will not only threaten the health of the astronauts on duty, but also dangerous for the ISS structure, so that the stability of space facilities will be disrupted.
According to NASA reports, several types of bacteria and insects that are inside the ISS are the same as those on Earth that can cause corrosion in metals. Indirectly, this means that the organism can attack the space station and cause damage. According to Dr. Camilla Urbaniak, one of the authors in a report on microbes and fungi at the outer base said that “A number of microorganisms that we identified on the ISS are known to be microorganisms that cause corrosion on Earth.” “However, to find out how much impact the organism has on corrosion over the ISS remains to be studied.”
“In addition to exploring the possible effects of microorganisms and fungi on the health of astronauts, understanding the potential impact that can be caused on spacecraft will be important to maintain the stability of station structures during long-term space missions, when routine maintenance efforts are not easy to do,” he explained. While reported by Metro.co.uk, most of the insects and bacteria found on the ISS are almost entirely related to humans, including bacteria found in fitness centers, offices, and hospitals on Earth.
While Dr. Kasthuri Venkateswaran from NASA’s Jet Driving Laboratory said, the specific microbes that exist in space on Earth have shown to have an impact on human health. “Understanding the impact of these microbes is even more important for astronauts during space flight, because their immunity changes and they do not have sophisticated medical access like those on Earth,” he said. “And given the possibility of a long-term space travel mission in the future, it is important to identify the types of microorganisms that can accumulate in unique and closed environments such as on space trips.”
“How long can they survive and how it will affect human health and spacecraft infrastructure,” he added. While according to Dr. Checinska Sielaff, it is currently unknown how dangerous bacteria and insects are for astronauts living on the ISS, how far bacteria can evolve in outer space conditions, and the possibility of the emergence of mutant insects in space that could wreak havoc. “Whether these opportunistic bacteria can cause disease in astronauts on the ISS is still unknown,” he said. According to him, it is also influenced by a number of factors, including the health conditions of astronauts and how organisms can function in the space environment. “Apart from that, the detection of the possibility that an organism can cause disease in space, shows the importance of further research,” he said.