The SpaceX Launch Is Sending Dinosaur Microbes to the Space Station

The SpaceX Dragon capsule that just left Earth for the International Space Station is carrying many an important item: a new laser communication system, coffee (which they just ran out of!), a planter for fresh produce, and billions and billions of microbes swabbed from dinosaur bones, sneakers, and spacecraft clean… » 4/18/14 4:45pm Friday 4:45pm

What Happens to Bacteria in Space?

In the otherwise barren space 220 miles above Earth's surface, a capsule of life-sustaining oxygen and water orbits at 17,000 miles per hour. You might know this capsule as the International Space Station (ISS), currently home to six humans—and untold billions of bacteria. Microbes have always followed us to the… » 4/10/14 11:00am 4/10/14 11:00am

An Unintended Effect of Energy-Efficient Buildings: Toxic Mold

Energy-efficient buildings can be wonderful at keeping out drafts and keeping down heating bills. But the same air-tightness, unfortunately, is also perfect for trapping humid air where toxic mold can go to party. » 2/16/14 1:00pm 2/16/14 1:00pm

How NASA Prevents a Space Plague Outbreak

In the early days of space exploration, NASA basically made up procedure on the fly. With little knowledge of the world outside our atmosphere, agency physicians worried what humans might encounter out there. Maybe John Glenn would go Space Blind. Maybe the Apollo 11 crew would track an Andromeda Strain through the… » 9/25/12 1:00pm 9/25/12 1:00pm

Scientists Create Diode Propulsion Engine for Bloodstream-Swimming…

Science fiction edges ever closer to reality as researchers at NC State University devise a form of propulsion that can accelerate microbots through the human bloodstream. The challenge: not only finding a way to create this engine on such a tiny scale, but to provide power to it. The solution? Diode propulsion, using… » 3/15/07 1:37pm 3/15/07 1:37pm