As the world looks towards the stars, the impacts of endogenous and exogenous microorganisms on human health during long-duration space flight are subjects of increased interest within the space community. The presence and continued growth of bacterial biofilms about spacecraft has been documented for decades; however, the impact on crew health is in its infancy.
The impacts of biofilms are well known in the medical, agricultural, commercial, and industrial spaces. It less known that biofilms are undermining many facets of space travel and that their effects need to be understood and addressed for future space missions. Biofilms can damage space crew health and spoil limited food supply. Yet, at the same time, they can benefit plant systems for food growth, nutrient development, and other biological systems that are being explored for use in space travel. Various biofilm removal techniques have been studied to mitigate the hazards posed by biofilm persistence during space travel. Because the presence of biofilms can advance or hinder humanity’s space exploration efforts, an understanding of their impacts over the duration of space flights is of paramount importance. . . Read Full Text Here