Russia astronauts have found bacteria living on the outside of ISS

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Russia astronauts have found bacteria that was not intentionally brought into space living on the outside of ISS.

They are being studied on Earth but most likely they don’t pose any sort of danger, Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov told TASS on Monday. According to him, during spacewalks from the International Space Station under the Russian program, the cosmonauts took samples with cotton swabs from the station’s external surface. In particular, they took probes from places where the accumulation of fuel wastes were discharged during the engines’ operation or at places where the station’s surface is more obscure. After that, the samples were sent back to Earth.

“And now it turns out that somehow these swabs reveal bacteria that were absent during the launch of the ISS module. That is, they have come from outer space and settled along the external surface.”

I suspect it is a bit of hyperbole to say the bacteria came from outer space. It more likely came from either the station itself, or later spacecraft docking with the station. At the same time, the article is vague about what has been discovered. For example, it says nothing about the bacteria itself.



  • BSJ

    It says this under the headline.

    “The bacteria were brought to the space station accidentally on tablet PCs together with various materials that are placed aboard the ISS for long time to study the materials’ behavior in outer space”

  • BSJ: Duh. I read that, and then promptly forgot it when I wrote the post.

  • wayne

    The Andromeda Strain (1971) Trailer

  • wodun

    It would be interesting to know how the bacteria got outside, if they eat exhaust residue, and if any of it is different than the microbiome of humans.

  • Phill O

    Remembering bit and pieces from “Genesis” if the constellation urion is still present. that is one way. The most likely is that prior to space walks, the space suits were contaminated. I would imagine that the static charge on any particle, in such a dry environment, would be quite high. Anyone who has worked in a dry glove-box can relate.

  • BSJ

    You make think it’s funny
    When your nose is runny
    But it’s snot…

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