2018 - All Press Releases

Nature Research partners with NASA on a new Nature Conference on the Microbiome of the Built Environment (MoBE)

Washington, DC 14 June

Nature Research and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will be convening a new conference designed to guide NASA’s approach to interaction with and control of the Microbiome of the Built Environment (MoBE) of future spacecraft including transports, habitats, landers, rovers and spacesuits.  

Taking place at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in the summer of 2019, this three-day event will help to shape NASA’s microbiological research goals. Information for people interested in participating will be provided soon.  

Microorganisms are everywhere, including built environments like spacecraft, and can affect crew health and the integrity of spacecraft. This conference will help NASA understand the abundance, type, and characteristics of the varieties of microbes found in spacecraft to mitigate problems that could occur during space exploration and capitalize on opportunities to control the spacecraft microbiome for the benefit of long-term space exploration.

Nature Research and NASA will bring together scientific, medical, and engineering experts for presentations and panel discussions about the type of microbiological research that should be undertaken to enable and enhance spaceflight operations. Findings from this event will be made available to the public later that year.

“The microbiomes of spacecraft, and the interaction of crew with microbes in the closed environment of space vehicles, is a fascinating and important area of research for NASA,” said Dr. Craig Kundrot, director of the Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We’re looking for our partnership with Nature Research to help connect us with the leading edge of science in this field.”

The conference steering committee includes NASA scientists Dr. Mark Ott, Dr. David Tomko, Dr. Anthony Hickey, Dr. Ruth Siboni, and Dr. Kasthuri Venkatswaran, Nature Microbiology Chief Editor Dr. Andrew Jermy, NPJ Executive Editor Dr. Rebecca Kirk and Dr. Cheryl Nickerson, who is both a leading spaceflight scientist and Editor-in-Chief of Nature Research journal, NPJ Microgravity.

“Nature Research is excited to work with NASA, combining the expertise and global reach  of both organizations, to convene the best minds in microbiome research to shape the agenda for research in this field to enable more successful and longer spaceflights in the future,” said Dr. Nick Campbell, Nature Research Executive Vice President and Director, Global Institutional Partnerships. 

About Nature Research

Nature Research is a portfolio of high-quality products and services across the life, physical, chemical and applied sciences – including journals, databases and researcher services – dedicated to serving the scientific community.

Nature (founded in 1869) is the leading, international weekly journal of science. Nature Research also publishes a range of Nature branded subscription journals, the leading open access multidisciplinary journal Nature Communications, other open access journals including Scientific Reports, and a range of Nature Partner Journals published in partnership with institutions and societies. Together, these journals publish some of the world's most significant scientific discoveries.

Online, nature.com provides over nine million unique visitors per month with Nature Research content, including news and comment from Nature, and the leading scientific jobs board, Naturejobs. Nature Research also offers a range of researcher services, including online and in-person training and expert language and editing services. For more information, please visit nature.com and follow @nresearchnews. Nature Research is part of Springer Nature.

About NASA

NASA is the United States’ space agency working around the world -- and off of it -- to answer some basic questions: What's out there? How do we get there? What will we find? What can we learn there, or learn just by trying to get there, that will make life better here on Earth? The division of Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications (SLPSRA) at NASA Headquarters administers NASA’s Human Research Program, Space Biology Program, and Physical Sciences Program. The division’s mission is to enable human spaceflight exploration to expand the frontiers of knowledge, capability, and opportunity in space and pioneer scientific discovery in and beyond low-Earth orbit to drive advances in science, technology, and space exploration to enhance knowledge, education, innovation, and economic vitality. The division partners with the research community and a wide range of organizations for both scientific research and technology development to accomplish its mission.


Rachel Scheer

Head of Communications, USA, Springer Nature