Project MERCCURI: Just how does a science experiment on the Space Station return to Earth?

Russell Neches assists in the delivery of Space Microbes.

Russell Neches assists in the delivery of Space Microbes.

Thousands of people swabbed microbes from their shoes and cell phones for Project MERCCURI. We’ll share the results of that part of the research as soon as we have them. 

Many people also swabbed surface samples from landmarks including the Liberty Bell, 76ers stadium, and other cool venues. Those samples were sent to the International Space Station and we’ll learn more about how they’re growing in space (compared to their counterparts left behind at UCDavis) in the coming weeks and months.

The third part of this study focused on microbes living on the International Space Station. The astronauts swabbed the inside of the ISS and the Space X Dragon capsule delivered those samples back to Earth. They are being studied now.

This blog post, (titled “The 11.4 million mile swab kit” from UC Davis researcher, Russell Neches, sheds light on how the protocols were developed (someone had to let astronauts know what to swab), how the microbe collection kits were delivered to the astronauts (wasn’t via a sling shot!), how they were returned (what happens after the capsule splashes down into the ocean, upon return?), and what’s next….

Check out the story of the 11.4 Million Mile Swab Kit !