Photo: NASA

Characterizing Antibiotic Resistance in Microgravity Environments

We are building 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 and antibiotic resistance of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa 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, testing of biological protocols, and conducting outreach and citizen science opportunities with partnered middle and high schools.

Mission Goals

  • Design an autonomous bacterial resistance payload experiment

  • Complete payload prototype and testing

  • Launch our payload in December 2021

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 2021

Mission Directors


Kalpana Ganeshan

Mission Lead

SEAS 2022

Operations Research

[email protected]


Swati Ravi

Mission Lead

CC 2022


[email protected]