As a tribute, scientists at NASA have named an unique organism found on ISS (International Space Station) after India’s 11th and much-loved president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The microbe which till now has been found only on the International Space Station and not on earth has been named ‘Solibacillus Kalamii’ after Dr. Kalam.
Dr Kasthuri Venkateswaran, a scientist at jet propulsion laboratory, NASA, Los Angeles, said, “The name of the bacterium is Solibacillus Kalamii. The species name is after Dr Abdul Kalam and genus name is Solibacillus which is a spore forming bacteria.” Researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the foremost lab of NASA for work on inter-planetary travel, discovered the new bacteria on the filters of the International Space Station (ISS).
The filter on which the new organism was found remained on the Space Station for 40 months. Called a high-efficiency particulate arresting filter, this part is the routine housekeeping and cleaning system on the international space station.This filter was later analyzed by Dr. Venkateswaran and was published in his International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.
Dr. Venkateswaran is confident that the organism went from earth to the space station as a hitchhiker and then survived the hostile conditions of space.
The idea of naming the organism after Dr. Kalam was of Venkateswaran and his team, “Being a fellow Tamilian, I am aware of the huge contributions by Dr. Kalam,” Venkateswaran told.
Dr. Kalam, the former president of India and world-renowned Space Scientist is one of the most loved personalities in India.