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Extraterrestrial bacteria found at Russian segment of the International Space Station? Probably not, but…

International Space Station/NASA, JSC

Probably not but it is fun now and then to worry about stuff that’s too exotic to really be happening. Most likely, anyway.

From Neel V. Patel at Slate:

… Anton Shkaplerov, a Russian cosmonaut who has already spent two stints aboard the International Space Station and is gearing up for a third mission to launch on Dec. 18, told Russian state media that scientists have found living bacteria sitting on the exterior of the Russian segment of the ISS. He claims the bacteria is not from Earth—it’s extraterrestrial in origin.

Hey, bacteria up there are not impossible:

Moreover, the upper reaches of the atmosphere are home to their own array of undiscovered forms of life. Bacteria that has adapted to withstanding low-pressure, low-oxygen altitudes in the air as well as more intense bouts of UV radiation are already resistant to extreme conditions and could conceivably find a way to handle the environment outside the atmosphere itself. Airborne organisms are not very well catalogued, and there are probably more than a few species hanging around the upper reaches of the atmosphere that scientists have yet to discover. More.

But if anyone seriously thought that Shkaplerov had found genuine ET life, lots of other folk would be headed up there looking…

Here’s a TASS PR making the claim.

See also: Why you, UD reader, are perchance not a member of the Party of Science…


Researchers: Chances of life on exoplanets less than supposed, due to stellar winds

Possibly space-hardy animals:

It was bound to happen... Mars is next... The origin of bacteria will be questioned and speculated on for years to come... J-Mac
While ET was with his buddy Elliott in the early 1980s, ET's parents went for a short romantic date at a Siberian resort by the lake Baikal. They had to cut short their relaxing vacation, because their son ET called them to say he was missing them badly. ET's parents took home some exotic plants they saw by the beautiful lake. It's possible the bacteria found on the ISS came out of the plants taken by ET's parents. :) Dionisio
pp@1 The NOKO missile went 490mi down range with an apogee of 1300 miles. If they would have used a more normal trajectory (a lower apogee) they could have gone 2800mi down range. Latemarch
Most "finds" turn out to be accidental contamination, just as most "ET signals" turn out to be bad ground connections or microwave ovens. Still, it's certainly not impossible. The intereseting fact is that the bacteria are ALIVE in a near vacuum, no matter where they came from. polistra
It is 4000 miles to the center of the earth. ISS just skimming the surface 250 miles up. How far up did the most recent NOKO missle go - a couple thousand miles? ppolish

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