Last Published:  11/23/20 11:55:12 AM (Central)
Short Title: Water Event
Responsible HRP Element: Space Human Factors and Habitability
Collaborating Org(s):
Funding Status: Completed - Task completed and produced a deliverable
Procurement Mechanism(s):

 To better understand and decrease the uncertainty of Gap AEH 12: We need to determine if spaceflight induces changes in diversity, concentration, and/or characteristics of medically significant microorganisms associated with the crew and environment aboard the International Space Station that could affect crew health under the Risk of Adverse Health Effects Due to Alterations in Host-Microorganism Interactions, the NASA/JSC Microbiology Laboratory was tasked by the Human Research Program to perform a study using International Space Station (ISS) data to assess the rates of fungal contamination of the space habitat that have had root causes associated with "free" water, including condensation. This data represents contamination investigations through September 2013 and was compiled to be used to highlight trends in procedures or processes that are likely causes of future contamination incidences. Of an approximate 20 events aboard ISS that have been investigated to date where suspected or confirmed microbial contamination has occurred, 10 of these events (50%) did involve water or fluid leakage from hardware items or ISS systems, condensation, or lack of defined procedures for hygiene activities for which water might be used. Two of the 20 anomalies did demonstrate the presence of microbial growth, but were not specifically associated with “free” water or condensation, included an odor originating from discarded microbiological growth plates from a payload and an unused food packet found with fungal contamination. The other anomalies that were suspected of having potential microbiological growth were proven not to be microbial contamination and instead were actually found to be non-microbial anomalies, such as corrosion and chemical precipitation. As a result of this project, a list of lessons learned and future mitigation strategies have been developed.

This task evaluated the historical spaceflight data on water associated anomalies about the International Space Station.  As a result of this data a greater emphasis has been placed on controlling water in the space vehicle environment and future recommendations based on lessons learned have been developed.  This data has been used to guide future research activities.

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