Space travel and why we need to take friendly bacteria with us.

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Offline Alan McDougall

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If we are to go to Mars or even to the nearest star it would be imperative to take friendly bacteria such as we have in our guts that we need to digest food.

Do you know how this is handled for instance on the international Space Station, because perfect cleanliness is bad for us, we need some dirt to survive.

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« Last Edit: 25/05/2016 20:40:34 by Alan McDougall »
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Offline evan_au

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Quote from: Alan McDougall
Do you know how (quarantine) is handled for instance on the international Space Station?
I understand that astronauts are kept away from other people for a week or so before launch, so they don't pick up any cold or flu viruses to infect the rest of the crew.

But they each take their own microbiome with them.

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If we are to go to Mars or even to the nearest star it would be imperative to take friendly bacteria
NASA has an officer responsible for protecting other planets against Earth bacteria.
It would be a horrible waste if you sent a sophisticated biosciences laboratory to Mars, only to discover bacteria that you had transported from Earth!

But "friendly" bacteria have many uses, including training our immune systems and keeping pathogenic bacteria under control. As well as the many food products that use bacteria in their production and preservation, like yoghurt, cheese, bread, wine, etc...

And when organics have passed their "use by" date, bacteria and fungi can recycle them.

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friendly bacteria such as we have in our guts that we need to digest food.
Humans extract most of our nutrients from food by cooking it and/or chopping it up and crushing it.
The "Boy in the Bubble" suffered from a severe immune deficiency, and was intentionally isolated from all bacteria. It did not cause a deadly impact on his digestion.

This is unlike mice, cows and koalas, whose normal diet is rich in cellulose; this would be undigestible without good bacteria. In these cases, oral antibiotics could prove lethal.