“Microbes in space: how bugs help us understand the cosmos”


This lecture is presented on Zoom platform – advanced booking  required.  If you wish to attend but are not in a position to make a donation at this time please email admin(at)astronomy.ie

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Presented on ZOOM 8th November at 7pm



Microorganisms are everywhere on Earth’s biosphere, from extremely hot volcanic springs to our own human body. These tiny fellows will necessarily follow us as we explore Space. This is important, because they will be crucial to our survival beyond Earth, as they play many important roles here.

In this talk, we will explore how this could be achieved. Rosa will bring as an example two experiments that we performed onboard the International Space Station (BioRock and BioAsteroid), which allowed us to learn more about how microorganisms could support humans in the establishment of space settlements.


Dr. Rosa Santomartino is a researcher in Space Microbiology and Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh (UK). She studies how microbes reacts and behave in space conditions, and how to use this knowledge to support human space exploration and its sustainability. During her research, she performed two biology experiments onboard the International Space Station: BioRock in 2019 and BioAsteroid in 2020/2021. The focus of her future research will be on waste recycling in space. During her research, she worked at NASA, Stanford University (California, US), Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (France) and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico). She currently collaborates with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI).

She has co-authored:

  1. Charles S. CockellRosa Santomartino, Kai Finster, Annemiek Waajen, Lorna J. Eades, Ralf Moeller, Petra Rettberg, Felix M. Fuchs, Rob Van Houdt, Natalie Leys, Ilse Coninx et al.Nature Communications, 11 

  2. Rosa Santomartino, Annemiek Waajen, Tasha Nicholson, Luca Parmitano, Claire Marie Loudon, Ralf Moeller, Petra Rettberg, Felix M. Fuchs, Rob Van Houdt, Kai Finster, Charles S. Cockell et al.Frontiers in Microbiology 

  3. Charles S. CockellRosa SantomartinoSean McMahon, Philippe Reekie, Samuel J.M.M. Alberti, Tacye Phillipson and Sara RussellAstronomy and Geophysics, 60, 6, p. 6.26-6.28 


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