Study of the survival of human flora bacteria as well as efficacy of several antibiotics under Martian environmental conditions.

When humans will colonizes Mars, they will not come alone: the microorganisms of the intestinal, oral, cutaneous flora… will accompany them. It is therefore essential to predict what type of microorganisms in these floras would be able to survive and colonize Mars.

As a bacteriologist, Audrey Comein will focus on studying the survival and growth capacity of bacteria collected on the crew and exposed to the environmental conditions found on the MDRS site. These harvested bacteria will be identified by proteomic analysis. The exposed bacteria will be compared directly to their unexposed analogues based on CFUs (Colony-Forming-Units) analysis. This analysis will allow us to determine the number of bacteria per millilitre of sample for each collected bacteria. Comparison of this value between exposed and non-exposed bacteria will reveal what types of bacteria in the human flora could potentially colonize Mars.

If some of our bacteria are able to survive on Mars, they could potentially cause infections in the human colony. Therefore, the question to be asked is: which antibiotics would remain sufficiently functional under such conditions?

In order to answer this question, Audrey will evaluate the efficacy of antibiotics from different classes exposed to environmental conditions and compare it to the same unexposed antibiotics. The antibiotics efficacy will be estimated on the basis of the minimum concentration of antibiotics required to inhibit bacterial growth: the lower this concentration, the more effective the antibiotic. Thanks to this experiment, we will know which antibiotics to bring to Mars with us.