A team of Russian researchers revealed that the environment inside the International Space Station (ISS) is contaminated. In their tests, they used advanced tools that can be utilized later to maintain the "health and safety" of spacecraft during long-term manned missions planned to other planets.
The new study was carried out by experts at the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems and presented during the "Korolev's Reading" event, named after Sergei Korolev, the father of the Russian rocket industry and the leader of the Soviet Union's entry in the "Space Age".
In their experiments, the researchers said they used a new device named "e-nose" on the ISS, where it detected fungi and germs. The e-nose is capable of monitoring pollution by capturing the gases emitted by these organisms.
In their report, the researchers didn't determine the type of the germs and fungi found inside the ISS, but they are likely non-harmful species that often exist in the air.
The air test conducted in the ISS was aimed at testing the "e-nose" and its efficacy in detecting the types and sources of pollution, in order to use it in monitoring contamination levels inside spacecraft in future interplanetary missions.
Based on the results of the primary tests, the researchers said the "e-nose" has proved its reliability in detecting fungi and germs in different parts of the ISS.
They suggested the new device could be used in the future to monitor all the parts and devices in spacecraft in order to prevent germs growth onboard, or to determine the type of any detected germ so astronauts can swiftly address the problem and halt its development while the spacecraft is in deep space, far away from the Earth, where it requires prevention to guaranty the continuation of its mission.