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International Space Station Microbial Observatory of Pathogenic Virus, Bacteria, and Fungi Project (ISS_MOP)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Cell and molecular biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

The International Space Station Microbial Observatory of Pathogenic Virus, Bacteria, and Fungi Project (ISS-MOP) will generate vast amount of data utilizing a number of automated high- throughput molecular methods to provide NASA with an opportunity to understand the total microbial communities of crew-associated environments. The high-throughput nature of molecular methods will not only allow researchers to describe the microbial communities of the International Space Station (ISS), but also to distinguish whether these biological signatures are of any concern to crew health and engineering systems. Focused cultivation-based approaches are likely to reveal a subset of novel and medically important microbes posing particular threats to habitat and crew health. Archival of microbial and viral strains and their availability for extensive sequencing may feed into functional genomics activities. It is expected that a wide range of metadata will allow NASA researchers to correlate microbial community information with temporal or environmental conditions.

The development of an all-encompassing, integrated ISS-MOP database will enable various phylogenetic- and pathogenic-based strategies of screening for and identifying specific subsets of microorganisms (e.g., dominating viral and microbial pathogens, as well as those that bear resistance traits relevant to human or antibiotics). This dataset will (a) create a capability for NASA to compare fluctuating viral and microbial communities to “baseline” standards, (b) enable more accurate assessments of crew health associated with a given mission and future mission planning, (c) allow evidence-based development of future bioload management policies and requirements, particularly for long-duration missions, and (d) capitalize on parallel research from non-NASA institutions such as the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) and Indoor Microbiome Project (IMP) efforts. Such a dataset will be extremely helpful in defining a baseline of what is normal and the extent to which change accompanies various disease states.

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Immune system
Virus activation

Data Information
Data Availability
Archiving in Progress. Some restricted access data exist for this experiment.
Data Sets+ Request data

C-reactive protein, salivary
DNA, nasal cavity
DNA, oral cavity
DNA, skin
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Expedition 51 04/09/2017 06/02/2017 55 days
Expedition 52 06/02/2017 09/02/2017 92 days
Expedition 53 09/02/2017 12/14/2017 102 days
Expedition 54 12/14/2017 02/27/2018 75 days
Expedition 55 02/27/2018 06/03/2018 96 days
Expedition 56 06/03/2018 10/04/2018 123 days
Expedition 57 10/04/2018 12/20/2018 77 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Jessica Keune
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Alternate Experiment Name
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2014 Space Biology Flight