The responses of microorganisms like viruses, bacteria cells, bacterial and fungal spores, and lichens to selected factors of space microgravity, galactic cosmic radiation, solar UV radiation, and space vacuum were determined in space and laboratory simulation experiments. In general, microorganisms tend to thrive in the space flight environment in terms of enhanced growth parameters and a demonstrated ability to proliferate in the presence of normally inhibitory levels of antibiotics. The survival of microorganisms in outer space was investigated to tackle questions on the upper boundary of the biosphere and on the likelihood of interplanetary transport of microorganisms. It was found that extraterrestrial solar UV radiation was the most deleterious factor of space. Among all organisms tested, only lichens Rhizocarpon geographicum and Xanthoria elegans maintained full viability after 2 weeks in outer space whereas all other test systems were inactivated by orders of magnitude. Using optical filters and spores of Bacillus subtilis as a biological UV dosimeter, it was found that the current ozone layer reduces the biological effectiveness of solar UV by 3 orders of magnitude.

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