SPOCS Research Question (9/29/20)

We have nailed down a specific research question to address and several strategies to test in our final experiment. Our central technical question is: "how does microgravity impact the efficacy of bacteria resistant polymers". The current pandemic steered our focus toward bacteria resistant materials that could be used in spaceflight to keep the astronauts safer from infection. In microgravity, astronauts rely heavily on handles for mobility under microgravity. Because of this, these handles could easily spread viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens to all members of a crew very quickly.

Our project advisor has a breadth of experience working with bacteria resistant polymers. Because of his experience we decided to experiment using three different polymer chemistries. All three chemistries are known to show bacteria resistance on Earth, however, little is known about their performance in microgravity. Therefore, our experiment will explore any differences in bacteria resistant performance between Earth gravity and microgravity. This research question and proposed solution will lay the foundation of our future work.

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The results from our citizen science experiment were accepted for publication! Find our paper describing this effort and its results here: