Germs...IN SPACE!

Nov 1, 2012

Credit Credit Luke Bryant via Flickr Creative Commons

The success of the Mars Rover Curiosity has re-invigorated public interest in a manned mission to mars. Millions viewed the “seven minutes of terror” video following the one-ton Curiosity’s suspenseful drop 13,000 miles an hour to zero as it landed on the  surface of Mars. Long before the mission took off, scientists were grappling with other terrifying and seemingly mundane logistics of sending humans to mars. One key consideration:  what to do about germs in a cramped spacecraft cabin halfway across the solar system? It’s not a good place to catch a cold…or worse.  Dr. Leonard Mermel is Medical Director of Rhode Island Hospital’s Department of Epidemiology and Infection Control. He’s been investigating the implications of infectious disease in space, and joins us to explain his findings.