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Has alien bacteria been found on the ISS ?

Posted on Tuesday, 28 November, 2017 | Comment icon 35 comments

Has bacteria from space been found on the station's hull ? Image Credit: NASA
Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov has indicated that bacteria found on the space station could have come from space.
While it is not unheard of to find microorganisms from Earth on the outside of the International Space Station, Shkaplerov, who will be returning to the orbital outpost in December, claims that scientists have collected samples of bacteria from the station's hull that may have come from another world.

"It turns out that somehow these swabs reveal bacteria that were absent during the launch of the ISS module," he said. "That is, they have come from outer space and settled along the external surface."

"They are being studied so far and it seems that they pose no danger."

While his comments are intriguing, the claim that this bacteria could be extraterrestrial in origin must be taken with quite a large pinch of salt, at least until more definitive test results are obtained.

It is quite possible that these microorganisms ended up on the space station's hull through a phenomenon known as 'ionosphere lift' and are in fact from Earth, not from space.

Exactly why Shkaplerov is so convinced that this is not the case remains unclear.

Source: Russia Today | Comments (35)

Tags: ISS, Bacteria

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #26 Posted by Brok on 28 November, 2017, 15:09
No, but you're the minority. Or at least I hope so. I would definitely lose what little faith I have left in humanity if the majority of the public failed to comprehend the significance, implications and importance of the discovery of alien life.
Comment icon #27 Posted by Aquila King on 28 November, 2017, 15:48
Guys, everyone, listen... Stop taking everything everyone says so damn seriously. If you quoted my following sentence that you edited out, it should be clear that I'm casually joking around. Of course I understand the significance of such a discovery. I'm not that dense.
Comment icon #28 Posted by Sundew on 28 November, 2017, 20:12
Just seems much more likely it's Earth bacteria, not all of which have been identified, I would guess. After all, it's a long way between worlds and the radiation, cold and dryness is not conducive to living organisms, especially over eons of time required for something to drift from one planet, or even solar system, to another.
Comment icon #29 Posted by seanjo on 29 November, 2017, 9:01
Interesting...if live bacteria has been found and, as is more likely, it is Earth originated, this will have implications for exploration of other planets and moons. For instance, we melt our way through Europas ice into the Sea below and some of these bacteria are living on the probe, what effect will that have on any ecology that might exist? If there is none, then maybe these bacteria will start one...Do we have the right to contaminate other planets living ecology?
Comment icon #30 Posted by flabbins on 29 November, 2017, 12:54
Just the news that bacteria can live in space whether it be from here or elsewhere? Surely that's big news?
Comment icon #31 Posted by Jon the frog on 29 November, 2017, 13:14
Yeah, something living outside in space is quite big news, it just explode the frontier of life. The level of radiation they endure are probably high and it they live and not survive, it's a big wow !
Comment icon #32 Posted by paperdyer on 30 November, 2017, 18:32
Thinking about it. The tests may prove nothing. Scientists believe bacteria came from space to Earth which started life here. Unless the strain is drastically different from any Earth "cousins", we still may not know.
Comment icon #33 Posted by ChrLzs on 30 November, 2017, 21:21
Search 'tardigrade'. You may not be amazed, but they're pretty impressive andshow what's possible, and there are other examples of things that are very difficult to kill....
Comment icon #34 Posted by Hazzard on 11 December, 2017, 22:55
Rather than microbes raining down from outer space, its much more plausible that the outside of the space station became contaminated by earthly organisms, many of which can survive in the harsh environment in orbit.
Comment icon #35 Posted by Mr Supertypo on 14 December, 2017, 8:38
A mutant earth bacteria? The old MIR had a devastating mutant fungi infestation. Cosmonauts could smell them as soon they went in the station.

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