INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     12th June 2024        
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Context: Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have carried out a collaborative study of the behaviour of multi-drug resistant pathogens aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

International Space Station (ISS)

  • About: It is the largest modular space station in low Earth orbit. The project involves five space agencies:

oThe US' NASA, Russia's Roscosmos, Japan's JAXA, Europe's ESA, and Canada's CSA. It orbits Earth approximately every 90 minutes, at an altitude of around 400 kilometers.

  • Designed: Between 1984 and 1993.
  • Objective: To enable long-term exploration of space and provide benefits to people on Earth.
  • Orbit: It orbits earth at an average altitude of 400 km and circles the globe every 90-93 minutes at a speed of 28,000 km/h.

Key findings of Study of Multidrug-Resistant Pathogens

  • Focus: The study focused on the genomic, functional, and metabolic adaptations of Enterobacter bugandensis, a bacterium notorious for causing hospital-acquired infections.
  • Genomic Adaptations: One of the pivotal findings from the study underscored the role of stress-induced genomic adaptations in bolstering the pathogen’s resistance to antimicrobial treatments.
  • ISS Challenges: With microgravity, heightened carbon dioxide levels, and increased radiation as constant challenges, the ISS provides a distinctive setting for studying microbial dynamics.


  • About: It is an organism that induces disease in its host, with the intensity of symptoms termed as virulence.
  • Taxonomy: Pathogens encompass a broad taxonomic range, including viruses, bacteria, unicellular, and multicellular eukaryotes.
  • Impact on Living Organisms: Pathogens affect all living organisms, including bacteria, which are preyed upon by specialized viruses known as phages.