Germs that exist in gyms apparently also hang out on the International Space Station.
A diverse population of bacteria and fungi -- similar to the ones found in hospitals, gyms and offices on Earth -- has been found on surfaces inside the ISS, according to research published Monday in the journal Microbiome.
As part of a NASA initiative, samples of bacteria and fungi were collected from eight locations throughout the ISS during three flight missions over a period of 14 months.
They were then analyzed back on Earth by a group of scientists, including several with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
"In light of an upcoming new era of human expansion in the universe, such as future space travel to Mars, the microbiome of the closed space environment needs to be examined thoroughly to identify the types of microorganisms that can accumulate in this unique environment, how long they persist and survive, and their impact on human health and spacecraft infrastructure," the researchers wrote.
Most of the organisms found on the ISS were ones associated with humans, according to the study.