NASA names bacterium found on ISS after APJ Abdul Kalam

May 22, 2017 16:04 IST

NASA names bacterium found on ISS after APJ Abdul KalamA team of scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in May 2017 named a new organism after A P J Abdul Kalam, a former President of India.

The new organism is a bacterium, which has been found only on the International Space Station (ISS) and has not been found on Earth.

The bacterium has been named as Solibacillus kalamii to honour the late president, who was also an aerospace scientist.

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Key highlights of Solibacillus kalamii

Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California discovered the new bacterium on filters installed on the ISS.

The filter on which the new bug was found remained on board the ISS for 40 months. The high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filter is a component of the routine housekeeping and cleaning system. The filter was later analysed at JPL.

The discovery was published by Kasthuri Venkateswaran, a senior research scientist at the Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group at JPL, in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology in 2017. His main job is to monitor the environment of the station so that harmful bugs do not proliferate. He heads the microbial observatory on the ISS, which studies microorganisms associated with compartments owned by the US.

Even though S. kalamii has not yet been found on Earth, it is not an extraterrestrial lifeform.

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