The ubiquitous nature of microbiology is reflected in the diversity of microbiological research and operational efforts at NASA. For example, the impact of microorganisms on other planets and the protection of Earth from the potential of microbial life elsewhere is the responsibility of the Office of Planetary Protection (http://planetaryprotection.nasa.gov/about). While the Office of Planetary Protection does not include forward or back contamination to or from a low Earth orbit, research platforms, such as the ISS, are being used to better understand the survival of microorganisms and corresponding contamination control in the extreme conditions of space (2, 4, 10). Another example is the NASA Center for Astrobiology, which focuses on the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe (https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/). The large focus on microbiology is within its human exploration operations. NASA has historically set microbiological requirements, including stringent monitoring regimes, to mitigate risks to the health and performance of astronauts. Microorganisms can have both positive and negative impacts on many aspects of human spaceflight, including the risk and prevention of infectious diseases, performance of Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS), spaceflight foods, and vehicle design and integrity. Even though a great amount of information has been obtained (1, 5, 7, 8), several key questions regarding the impact of microorganisms on human spaceflight still remain. Research into the uncertainties of risks that may affect crew health are the responsibility of the NASA Human Research Program (http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/humanresearch/). The research that addresses our fundamental understanding of space life science and its translation for benefits to the general public on Earth is the responsibility of NASA Space Biology.