Investigating the development of astronauts microbiome during and after an isolation mission under Mars-analog conditions

Principal Investigator (PI)

Reut Sorek Abramovich |

Organisation Dead Sea and Arava Science Center
Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station

Yael Yair, Tel Aviv University
36 Avra'am Keren st., Kfar Saba, 4420836, Israel;
+972 52 3627965,

Oded Aharonson, Weizmann Institute of Science, Department of Earth and Planetary
Sciences - Center for Planetary Science
Rehovot 76100, Israel;
+972 8 9346961,




For missions to Mars, especially crewed ones, which aim to investigate biomarkers must be aware of contamination issues and how they might interfere with the investigation. It is impossible to remove live organisms and organic material completely from an Earth based spacecraft prior to launch. Some bacteria, in spore formation, have been shown to survive under thin layer of Martian soil after spacecraft sterilization techniques. Analog missions are relevant to test forward and backward contamination issues. Especially long-term analog missions, with several crew members provide a reliable, sustainable source of information for bacterial contamination analysis. By using advanced sequencing techniques, the MICRO-POTENTIAL experiment aims to study the effect of human missions on bacterial and eukaryotic dispersion in the vicinity of the habitat.

The scientific hypotheses to be tested are:

  1.  Microbial population composition will correlate to the distance of samples from the habitat.
  2.  Few species (<10) will be present in all samples regardless of distance.
  3. At a given geographical location, microbial population composition will vary with time

Experiment Data

2021-10-095x .jpg, 1 folder: MP2 Location Images (containing 8x .jpg, 1x .rtf - location description) 
2021-10-174x .jpg, 2x .mov
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2021-10-22Protocols A, B, D
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