Photo: NASA

Studying Bacterial Resistance on the ISS

We are designing an ISS payload experiment to study antibiotic resistance in space.


CARMEn is an autonomous ISS experiment designed by the SPOCS team investigating the differences in growth patterns of bacterium Staphylococcus aureus and fungus Candida albicans when grown in a dual-species biofilm. The experiment won NASA’s SPOCS payload design competition in December 2020, earning $20,000 from NASA to build and fly CARMEn to the International Space Station for 30 days. The team is currently working on payload prototyping and testing of biological protocols, mechanical systems designs, and payload electronics systems and is also continuing work with partnered middle and high schools for outreach events and citizen science opportunities.

Mission Goals

  • Design an autonomous bacterial resistance payload experiment

  • Complete payload prototype and testing

  • Launch our payload in Spring 2022

Related Skills

  • Microbiology/Biomedical Engineering

  • Mechanical Engineering

  • Electrical Engineering

  • Enthusiasm for space science research


  • Partnered with the Dietrich Biological Shape and Pattern Formation Laboratory

  • Partnered with the Carleton Strength of Materials Laboratory

  • Created an 87-page technical proposal and received NASA feedback of having “outstanding experimental design” and a “well-engineered [and] well-developed scientific approach”

  • Won NASA’s SPOCS competition including full funding for a 30-day experiment on the ISS in 2022

Mission Directors


Kalpana Ganeshan

SEAS 2022

Operations Research

[email protected]


Swati Ravi

CC 2022