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SpaceX To Send Super Bacteria Into Space On Valentine’s Day

MRSA.NIAID_Flickr/Wikimedia

Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX is slated to send a rocket up into space on February 14th carrying a very special payload. With the alarming rate of growth of drug-resistant superbugs on Earth, scientists now want to send an example called Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) into space for study.

Anyone who knows anything of MRSA will likely have felt chills running down their spine at the very thought of being in an enclosed space with the microorganism in Zero-gravity. However, this is exactly what scientists are planning on doing with the purpose of studying the super bacteria, Futurism reports.

Studying MRSA in space has several advantages compared to when studying it here on Earth, the biggest of which is to accelerate the mutation of the bacteria. Without the constant pressure exerted by the planet’s gravity, MRSA will basically be able to change at an accelerated rate, which ties directly into its ability to infect and even kill its hosts.

Normally associated with symptoms like red, swollen bumps on the skin, MRSA is an incredibly efficient killer. The only way to stop it is to develop a method of counteracting its effects in a specific manner, which will need first-hand observation of how it develops in the first place.

Once it reaches space, Dr. Anita Goel and her team of scientists will be handling the deadly bacteria, Yahoo reports. Dr. Goel won the Galactic Grant Competition back in 2015, which allowed her to receive $500,000 in grant money. At the event, she outlines her plans for the future, including a trip to the International Space Station to accelerate the finding of cures to deadly organisms.

"We will leverage the microgravity environment on the ISS to accelerate the Precision Medicine revolution here on Earth," Dr. Goel explained. "Our ability to anticipate drug-resistant mutations with Gene-RADAR will lead to next-generation antibiotics that are more precisely tailored to stop the spread of the world's most dangerous pathogens."

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