Cosmic Bloom is caused by an astroplankton infestation onboard a spacecraft. When enough astroplankton get into the spacecraft filters, they cluster together into lumps of algae. In favourable conditions, the algae will not only grow at extreme rates: it begins to bloom. Blooming algae releases dangerous toxins into the air which can cause damage to the ship and crew. Cosmic Blooms are best known for turning skin and tissue transparent. Compare and contrast to Crystal Infestation and Paradisius, two other well known infestations that can happen aboard spacecrafts.Ideally a Cosmic Bloom should be prevented before it happens. Common space procedure says that at the first signs of an algae infestation, which can be as simple as mild discolouration around the filters, a deep cleaning should be prioritized. Most spacecraft have specialized filter brushes that help physically remove the algae. However, without proper handling of the tools and contact points, the algae will be spread to new parts of the ship. The astroplankton that makes up most algae is usually too small to be seen with the naked eye. A surface that looks "clean" may easily still be infected. It is paramount that the area and tools are thoroughly disinfected or the algae will just grow back.
Crew SymptomsCW: This section contains mild body horror and induced phobia. Passengers in craft with uncontrolled algae growths can suffer all kinds of ill effects, such as headaches, nausea, and trouble breathing. These symptoms usually improve after disembarking. The symptoms of a more severe infestation however, are not so easily cured. Algae that is in full bloom can cause far more severe and long-term effects up to and including death, depending on the particular strains present. One of the most visible permanent effects is transformation of skin, where large patches of afflicted tissue turn transluscent or transparent. Intense claustrophobia is another common symptom in survivors and one that is particularly debilitating aboard a craft.
Put to UseAlgae is widely considered something to avoid on ships, which are kept in as sterile condition as possible both for crew and ecological safety. However a new wave of organic ships deliberately host algae and provoke cosmic blooms to produce oxygen or other desirable gases. The practice is controversial. It's impossible to make sure no algae leaks into space, or onto a space station as its inhabitants get on and off, and even beneficial algae can be difficult to get rid of where it is unwanted. So far organic ships have not caused any serious algae spills, but many believe it is only a matter of time. However, until such a spill occurs no strong push to ban the practice has arised.
Step 1. Use a filter brush to physically collect the algae.
Step 2. Place the algae in a completely airtight specialized containment jar.
Step 3. Disinfect jar, brush, site, person who did the work, and maybe the whole ship while you're at it with enzyme cleaner.