Microbiological monitoring in the International Space Station-KIBO (Microbe-IV) - 11.19.14
ISS Science for Everyone
Science Objectives for Everyone
Monitoring microbes that can cause illness is crucial for maintaining crew member health. Microbiological monitoring in the International Space Station-KIBO (Microbe-IV) uses several passive devices to capture and sample microbes, such as bacteria and fungus, on the International Space Station (ISS). The sampling devices are frozen and returned to Earth, where researchers and students count, and classify, the microbes. Sampling the microbial environment on the ISS helps scientists monitor the station's air purity.
Science Results for Everyone
JAXA TKSC Space Environment Utilization Center, Tsukuba, , Japan
Sponsoring Space Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Space Exploration, Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2014 - Ongoing
Previous ISS Missions
Microbe-I, Microbe-II, and Microbe-III
- To monitor microbial populations aboard ISS, it is necessary to maintain the health of the crew members. Passive sampling and analysis on the ground clarifies the type, and number, of microbes in the KIBO module. Particle count data gives the real time status of air purity in the KIBO module.
- Continuous monitoring from the Microbe-I experiments provides microbial information about the KIBO module, and enables the prediction of future microbial circumstance populations in the KIBO module.
- Results from this experiment provide further insight into the risk of microbial populations to crew members aboard the ISS.
In the JAXA KIBO Utilization scenario, studies on the relationship between human and microbes in space habitation environments are critical for success in long-duration missions. In respect to human health, the importance of microbiological monitoring is extremely important for long-duration missions. In this investigation, the major focus is on indoor environmental quality control, specifically studies on environmental microbiology in space (astromicrobiological studies), in order to reduce potential hazards for the crew and the spacecraft infrastructure. Progress is made in these astrobiological studies based on past, and current, collaborative studies with JAXA. The continuing expansion of the on-going microbiological monitoring in the KIBO module, the project named “Microbe-I/II/III”, data is being collected on microbial dynamics in the habitable spacecraft environment. Collected data on these microbial communities aboard the ISS is shared with NASA, ESA, and JAXA.
Results from the Microbe-IV investigation provide insight into the microbial environment on the ISS. Microbes that can cause illness could present problems for current and future long-duration space missions. Understanding which microbe communities thrive in space habitats, known as astromicrobiology, could help researchers design antimicrobial technology.
The sampling devices used for Microbe-IV could also be used on Earth. Procedures for monitoring and counting microbe populations could enable new microbe control standards for the pharmaceutical and food processing industries.
Passive sampling items, "White Tube", "Microbial Detection Sheet", "Air Filter", and "Sampling Sheet" are recovered on Earth at frozen storage temperature. Particle data taken by "Particle Counter" should be downlinked through Experiment Laptop Computer-2 (ELT-2).