Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by David Coil a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis and a member of the Project MERCURRI team.
We’ve finished analyzing all the data from the “Microbial Playoffs” part of Project MERCCURI(described here). Each microbe that was chosen to fly to the International Space Station (list of candidate microbes here) was plated out 6 times on the plates that were analyzed in space. We looked at three categories; Best Huddle, Best Tip-Off, and Best Sprint. Here are the winners for each of the three categories:
Best Huddle (The microbe that grew to the highest density, really packing into their space)
Best Tip-Off (The microbe that got off to the fastest growing start straight out of the freezer)
Pop Warner Chittenango: The microbe “Bacillus pumilus” was collected on a Porta-Potty handle by Pop Warner Chittenango Bears cheerleaders. For an image of the microbe and more information, see the trading card at the Space Microbes web site.
Best Sprint (The microbe that grew the fastest in any single 24-hour period in space)
Parkway Middle School: The microbe “Bacillus horikoshii” was collected on a lobby banister at Parkway Middle School as part of a Broward County STEM teacher’s event. For an image of the microbe and more information, see the trading card at the Space Microbes web site.