An experiment launched with the Cygnus 'craft brought my attention to another difference between Earth and space environments: human infections may become more lethal, more virulent, and less prone to antibiotic treatment in space due to microgravity (and also possible increase in rate of mutations).

A search through PubMed yielded a few interesting abstracts/articles, in two 'waves' (2004-2006 and 2012-2013).

  • How will a prolonged Beyond Earth Orbit (BEO) mission deal with antibiotic-resistant pathogens in terms of standard operating procedures, extra equipment and supplies required?

  • What are the implications of infections complicated by microgravity for in-flight surgical procedures?

  • How many researchers are active in this area across major space powers (NASA, the Chinese etc.)?


1 Answer 1


This SETI Talk by one active researcher gives a "nice" overview of the health problems with space flight: http://www.seti.org/weeky-lecture/every-body-ark-how-microorganisms-we-carry-will-impact-long-term-space-travel

It is very discouraging for microgravity. It makes me wonder how humans have been able to survive a year in a space station. And why centrifugal spacecrafts have not been researched at all, they are obviously the only way to go. Anti-biotic resistance caused by mutations from the increased radiation, one would have anyway. But at least bacteria would not grow as fast and float around everywhere as they do in microgravity.

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    $\begingroup$ It would be useful if you could describe a bit what that talk you're adding a link to is discussing and how it answers the question. Since it's an external resource, it might become unavailable in time. Additionally, the rest of your post is merely new questions, and they don't really answer anything. Please note that Space Exploration is a Q&A website, not a discussion forum. More on how this website is supposed to function is explained in our About and Help center. So, if you could please edit your answer to focus on answering the questions presented at the top, that would be great. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 14:29

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