(NOTE: The initial results that were published here turned out to be in error, the plates on the space station were mislabeled. These are the correct winners. Apologies.)
We’ve finished analyzing all the data from the “Microbial Playoffs” part of Project MERCCURI (described here). Each microbe that was chosen to fly to the International Space Station (list of candidate microbes here) was plated out 6 times on the plates that were analyzed in space. We looked at three categories; Best Huddle, Best Tip-Off, and Best Sprint. Here are the winners for each of the three categories:
Best Huddle (The microbe that grew to the highest density, really packing into their space)
Best Tip-Off (The microbe that got off to the fastest growing start straight out of the freezer)
Pop Warner Chittenango: The microbe “Bacillus pumilus” was collected on a Porta-Potty handle by Pop Warner Chittenango Bears cheerleaders. For an image of the microbe and more information, see the trading card at the Space Microbes web site.
Best Sprint (The microbe that grew the fastest in any single 24-hour period in space)
Oakland Raiders: The microbe “Bacillus aryabhatti” was collected on a practice football field used by the Oakland Raiders. For an image of the microbe and more information, see the trading card at the Space Microbes web site.