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Space & Astronomy

Can life survive in outer space ?

By T.K. Randall
June 25, 2012 · Comment icon 11 comments



Image Credit: NASA
Astronauts have conducted experiments to determine which life forms can survive the vacuum of space.
A suitcase-sized experimental apparatus known as the Expose-E experiment was sent up to the International Space Station and contained an array of bacteria, seeds, lichen and other organic compounds. The samples were placed outside the space station for a period of time, exposing them to the full harshness of the sun's rays and a wide range of temperatures.

The results of the experiment suggest that lichen can survive almost anything, going in to a dormant state and springing back to life afterwards. Not only does this strengthen the possibility that life might have hitched a ride to the Earth on an asteroid or comet, but sunscreen manufacturers have taken a distinct interest in lichen on the basis that it can survive 18 months of direct sun exposure without any problems.[!gad]A suitcase-sized experimental apparatus known as the Expose-E experiment was sent up to the International Space Station and contained an array of bacteria, seeds, lichen and other organic compounds. The samples were placed outside the space station for a period of time, exposing them to the full harshness of the sun's rays and a wide range of temperatures.

The results of the experiment suggest that lichen can survive almost anything, going in to a dormant state and springing back to life afterwards. Not only does this strengthen the possibility that life might have hitched a ride to the Earth on an asteroid or comet, but sunscreen manufacturers have taken a distinct interest in lichen on the basis that it can survive 18 months of direct sun exposure without any problems.
You can freeze it, thaw it, vacuum dry it and expose it to radiation, but still life survives. ESA's research on the International Space Station is giving credibility to theories that life came from outer space -- as well as helping to create better sunscreens.


Source: Science Daily | Comments (11)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by First-time Human 11 years ago
I firmly believe that life will always find a way to survive, despite any disaster, minor or major, and has has been seen many times on this 3rd rock from the sun, so why shouldn't that same principle apply beyond our atmosphere.
Comment icon #3 Posted by marcos anthony toledo 11 years ago
Life is harder to kill than we think it is everywhere.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Rhino666 11 years ago
Well firstly you have to define life on earth according to what we know is dead easy , life away from earth might be completely different and in a form we haven't thought of.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Junior Chubb 11 years ago
Well firstly you have to define life on earth according to what we know is dead easy , life away from earth might be completely different and in a form we haven't thought of. I was thinking along a similar line, unfortunately the article is more about terrestrial life surviving in outer space.
Comment icon #6 Posted by ROGER 11 years ago
Some thing to think about if , in the future, terraforming Mars becomes desirable.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Device 11 years ago
For some reason, I feel proud of these lichens. Good on them.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Junior Chubb 11 years ago
For some reason, I feel proud of these lichens. Good on them. Looks like we know who will dominate after our world ends in 2012... Lichen will inherit the Earth!
Comment icon #9 Posted by kobolds 11 years ago
they left out BURN IT test
Comment icon #10 Posted by csspwns 11 years ago
tardigrade (water bear) is suppose to be invincible and could survive in extreme temps or pressures.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Atlantia 11 years ago
That was the first thing I thought csspwns. The Tardigrade is truly legendary in its hardiness! Have a look at their wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tardigrade


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