DescriptionFocussing on the (analog) astronauts' microbiome as a health factor
Principal Investigator (PI)
Organisation Helmholtz Center Munich - Research Unit Comparative Microbiome Analysis
Co-InvestigatorsSusanne Kublik BSc, Prof. Dr. Michael Schloter



The Microbiome experiment focusses on the (analog) astronauts' microbiome as a health factor. To date studies on the effects of spaceflight on astronauts' microbiomes are rare. In the experiment, the impact of short-term missions on the microbiome will be assessed by characterizing the analog astronauts' skin and gut microbiome before, during and after the mission. The collected data is to be correlated with metadata on the analog astronauts' health and hygiene as well as environmental factors.

The research questions to be investigated are:

  1. Is there an observable effect already on the short term and - if so - is it rather on structural or functional level?
  2. How resilient is the microbiome towards short-term stress? - How fast and to which extent does it react and how fast and to which extent does it turn back to the initial state?
  3. Are there key stone species that can be used as markers for specific states or that even function as triggers?

Samples of the microbiome will be taken every couple of days during the mission, as well as before and after mission for reference. The skin microbiome will be sampled with swabs of the elbow crease and fecal samples are to be taken as proxies for the gut microbiome. For correlation of microbiome data with information on the astronauts’ habits and health status metadata will be collected by means of a questionnaire.

Experiment Data

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