On a long spaceflight unique conditions including microgravity could give microbes the upper hand, but not if astronauts and their spacecrafts are properly prepared. In a new paper, infectious disease expert Dr. Leonard Mermel brings together a broad base of research to come up with specific recommendations for keeping astronauts safe in deep space.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The cabin of a spacecraft halfway to Mars would be the least convenient place — one cannot say “on earth” — for a Salmonella or Pneumococcus outbreak, but a wide-ranging new paper suggests that microgravity and prolonged space flight could give unique advantages to germs. What’s a space agency to do? Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital infectious disease expert Dr. Leonard Mermel offers several ideas.
And no, they are not to add more Vitamin C to the Tang, or to give each crew member a bottle of Purell. It’s a lot more complicated than that. (more…)