Bacteria that cling to ISS probably are not extraterrestrial life.


  Illustration of photo by blackboard. Photos from NASA and Thinkstock.
Do not believe everything you read in the Russian state media.

Illustration of the photo of Slate . Photos from NASA and Thinkstock.

A surprising number of people believe that we already have proof that aliens exist. But it is very rare when that segment of the population overlaps with the segment that has actually been towards outer space. And yet, on Monday, Anton Shkaplerov, a Russian cosmonaut who has already spent two periods aboard the International Space Station and is preparing for a third mission to launch on December 18, told Russian state media that the scientists have found living bacteria outside the Russian segment of the ISS. Affirms that the bacteria is not from the Earth, is of extraterrestrial origin. According to Shkaplerov, cosmonauts aboard the ISS cleaned the station's hulls during spacewalks, particularly in areas where fuel debris was discharged and in dark parts of the station. where the activity is low Those samples were sent back to Earth for study, and, as Shkaplerov told the Russian media, "now it turns out that somehow these rods reveal bacteria that were absent during the launch of the ISS module." That is, they came from outer space and settled along the outer surface. "

Shkaplerov goes on to say that this extraterrestrial bacterium has not yet presented any danger and that it has been found to be distinct from other terrestrial bacteria that are also found outside the ISS. Tablet PC brought to the station.)

So this evidence of aliens? I do not think so.It's not clear when or why these bacterial swabs were taken, or who has been studying them, or for how long. Asked for details, NASA submitted Slate to Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, and Roscosmos did not respond to requests for comments before closure.

What is clear, however, is that no one should take Shkaplerov seriously.From the beginning, Russian state media are far from reliable, and usually act as an arm propagandist of the government. And Russian scientists have made similarly strange and baseless life claims that cling to the ISS hull before, like there's sea plankton hanging in the station, that there is not.

But let's ignore, for a second, how bonkers this story sounds and badume that Shkaplerov is not intentionally spreading misinformation. If there are unknown bacteria in the ISS, what could it be?

Microorganisms tend to be notoriously resistant to extreme environments. That's precisely why many scientists looking for extraterrestrials are not deterred by ice-covered worlds like Jupiter's moon, Europa, or Saturn's moon, Enceladus; nor are they frightened by the possibility that life may exist within a small crack in an asteroid or comet without atmosphere or within the currents of space dust. Extremophile microbes could survive the vacuum of space. We already know that the tardigrades (also known as water bears) can survive in space, which certainly opens up the possibility that other forms of life can also survive.

In addition, the upper limits of the atmosphere are home to its own variety of undiscovered life forms. Bacteria that have adapted to withstand low oxygen altitudes and low air pressure, as well as more intense outbreaks of UV radiation, are already resistant to extreme conditions and could find a way to manage the environment outside the atmosphere. Airborne organisms are not very well cataloged, and it is likely that there are more than a few species hanging around the upper limits of the atmosphere that scientists have not yet discovered.

Ultimately, an unknown microbe of some kind may have climbed onto one of the hundreds of spacecraft flown towards the sky to the ISS. Russian scientists who study the bacteria may be baffled by something they have never studied before.

In addition, space itself is capable of changing the biology of an organism. Between the abrupt fluctuations of temperature, the microgravity of the orbital space and the discharge of cosmic radiation, a familiar terrestrial bacterial species could have been transformed simply into something that can no longer be well recognized.

These explanations are not fully explained. it cancels the hopes that we have finally found extraterrestrials, but considering all things, it seems more than likely that Shkaplerov is the mastermind of a rather strange joke, that is, an unfortunate victim of some erroneous chatter that moves through the vine.

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