At the University of Houston, Professor George Fox studied Earth germs that are capable of contaminating other planets. Even after a lot of practices of decontamination, bacteria manages to move into the outer space abroad spacecraft. Employees need to pass through a series of lobbies to gain access into the uber-sanitized rooms at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland which is also the world’s largest clean room. The room contains adhesive floor mats which can trap the dirt carried on shoes. Having a size of the phone booth, it delivers an air-shower with extreme force where dozens of air jets blow the dirt and debris away. Once these sterilization methods are completed, only then a person can don the bodysuits, head covers and other regalia which are disinfected.
After all these measures, bacteria can still survive the extreme conditions of outer space which can cause a process called forward contamination. These bacteria are found on Mars Rover as they have been carried on board the International Space Station. Professor Fox along with his team is studying non-pathogenic bacteria which belongs to the category of genus Bacillus and produces highly resistant spores. He also says that eliminating microbes in clean rooms where the spacecrafts assemble will be a challenge for NASA and various space agencies.
By: Swati Kaushal