Microbiome is one of nine Spaceflight Standard Measures conducted on International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers. Spaceflight Standard Measures are a set of core measurements, representative of many of the risks experienced by astronauts before, during, and after spaceflight. The purpose of this project is to populate a repository with data that enables high-level monitoring of countermeasure effectiveness and meaningful interpretation of health and performance outcomes. These standard measures will also support future, hypothesis-driven research that enables planetary missions by providing an optimized minimal set of measures captured from all ISS crewmembers until the end of the ISS program. These measures will be available to other studies under data sharing agreements as well as undergo analysis for trends in the astronaut population.
Samples from key body sites, saliva, and fecal will be collected from subjects pre-, in- and post-flight under three mission scenarios: short duration (up to 105 days flight days), standard duration (between 105 to 240 flight days), and long duration (greater than 240 days). Sample collection methods are non-invasive and require minimal crew time.
The subjects will complete an Environmental, Health, and Hygiene Survey to record general health (e.g. skin wound or infections, gastrointestinal distress) when they last cleaned their body and brushed their teeth, the menu from the last 3 days, and use of antibiotics, antivirals, probiotics, and steroids in the last 2 months. Sample swabs from non-overlapping regions of the crewmembers’ forehead (minimum 5 peaks/valleys), inner forearm (either arm, minimum 5 peaks/valleys), and nares region (either nostril). The samples will be collected at least 1 hour after eating or drinking and before brushing teeth or bathing. Samples from the nares region will be collected by rotating sterile, pre-moistened swabs 6 times around the inside of the nostril while applying constant pressure. A final swab will be opened, waved through the air, and then placed in a saline solution as a control. After sampling, swabs tips will be stored in a saline solution and frozen. Samples can be placed in a subject’s home freezer until all samples are ready to be transported to Johnson Space Center (JSC). For in-flight sessions, swab tips will be stored in a saline solution at -80?C or lower.
The subjects will collect a stool sample of at least 20 grams. The sample will be stored with ice packs following collection and delivered to the JSC Microbiology Lab within 24 hours of collection. The first bowel movement after the body sampling session or the bowel movement that occurred during the morning of the body sampling session will be collected. In-flight, subjects will collect a fecal sample utilizing a swab tube with a long handle attached. The sample must be collected wearing double gloves. The sample will be double-bagged using sample bags for a second level of containment and stored at -80?C or lower.
One saliva sample will be collected every other day from the start of session through 7 days thereafter (4 samples total). Subjects will soak a Salimetrics oral swab with saliva and store it in the provided salivette bag. Samples will be frozen within 30 minutes of collection. Samples can be placed in subjects’ home freezer until all 4 samples have been collected and then will be transported to JSC Microbiology Lab for processing. Following each collection in-flight, the saliva samples will be stored at -80?C or lower.
The scheduled days of collection are as follows:
Short Duration Mission:
The Spaceflight Standard Measures project is not a hypothesis-driven study, but rather a project to create a collection of ISS data made available to future researchers and for trend analysis. As such, there are no specific hypotheses, outcome measures, or statistical analyses associated with the skeleton of the project. The project will capture a "snapshot" of optimized data that can be investigated by researchers in the future.