This will certainly be Valentine's Day present that space agencies will never forget. According to reports, SpaceX will be launching a deadly bacterium to the International Space Station on February 14, 2017.
About SpaceX's Deadly Superbug
As per InterestingEngineering, the pathogen in question is methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and the said superbug can often lead to hospitalization. The antibiotic-immune bacterium and others similar to MRSA are the main culprits for up to 10 million deaths each year, according to one study, where in the U.S. alone, 11,000 deaths can be tracked directly back to MRSA each year.
How The Superbug Was Developed
Along with NASA's funding, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will launch the said MRSA colonies and will be cultivated in the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the International Space Station. Anita Goel, the team leader of the study and Chairman CEO of Nanobiosym, has slowly become one of the world's premier experts in nano- biophysics.
Nanobiosym won the first ever XPRIZE in Healthcare for its Gene-RADAR technology. The device gives access for cheap and immediate diagnostic tests at one-tenth the cost compared to current rates.
Why Ship The Biological Substance To Space?
Goel claimed that by shipping the biological substances into space, she and her team can be able to test modern biological thinking with the use of unconventional technology. Her current hypothesis is that near-zero gravity could potentially speed up the mutations of MRSA at a rapid rate, which has not yet been experienced under the Earth's current gravity
By means of fast-forwarding through the MRSA mutations, Goel has high hopes that scientists can engineer biological solutions before conducting the mutations themselves. Thus, we can finally have the treatment in place before it becomes way too late.
Space offers a huge range of untapped potential, especially for tests like Goel's experiment. In fact, in 2000, Russian space station Mir housed a cloning project that dealt with yeast while an earth-bound team also performed the same project.
According to ScienceAlert, even NASA's twin study have shown that space has unforeseen effects on our understanding of biological functions.