Survival of dormant organisms after long-term exposure to the space environment

N. Novikova, O. Gusev, N. Polikarpov, E. Deshevaya, M. Levinskikh, V. Alekseev, T. Okuda, M. Sugimoto, V. Sychev, A. Grigoriev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The RF SRC - Institute of Biomedical Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences, developed Biorisk hardware to study the effects of long-term exposure of dormant forms of various organisms to outer space and used it to complete a series of experiments on the Russian Module (RM) of the International Space Station (ISS). The experiments were performed using prokaryotes (Bacillus bacteria) and eukaryotes (Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Cladosporium fungi), as well as spores, dormant forms of higher plants, insects, lower crustaceans, and vertebrates. The biological samples were housed in two containers that were exposed to outer space for 13 or 18 months. The results of the 18-month experiment showed that, in spite of harsher temperature than in the first study, most specimens remained viable. These experiments provided evidence that not only bacterial and fungal spores but also dormant forms of organisms that reached higher levels of evolutionary development had the capability to survive a long-term exposure to outer space. This observation suggests that they can be transferred on outer walls of space platforms during interplanetary missions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1574-1580
Number of pages7
JournalActa Astronautica
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


  • Animals
  • Bacteria
  • Biorisk experiment
  • Dormant forms
  • Fungi
  • Higher plants
  • International Space Station (ISS)
  • Outer space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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