Plankton from Earth’s sea has reportedly wound up on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS), writes Nature World News.
And while experts know that certain bacteria can survive in space given the right conditions, plankton is certainly not one of them.
Vladimir Solovyev, chief of the Russian ISS orbital mission, has reported the occurrence.
‘Results of the experiment are absolutely unique. We have found traces of sea plankton and microscopic particles on the illuminator surface. This should be studied further,’ he said in a statement, as reported by the Russian ITAR-TASS News Agency.
Cosmonauts reportedly found the plankton when analyzing samples from the station’s outside illuminators, which have become fogged and dirtied from engine fire as cargo is shipped to and from the station, writes Nature World News.
According to Solovyev, the Russian space agency (Roscosmos) has no conclusive idea as to how the plankton got there.
The plankton was reportedly in a stage that showed that there is no way hitched a ride from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, from where crew and cargo deliveries to the ISS are launched.
‘It turns out that there are some rising air currents, which settle on the surface of the station,’ Solovyev added in a statement, according to RT network of TV-Novosti.
NASA thinks the idea that plankton could ride updrafts from the Earth to the ISS is not plausible.
The space agency adds that Russia’s ISS team has not officially informed them of the discovery.
‘As far as we’re concerned, we haven’t heard any official reports from our Roscosmos colleagues that they’ve found sea plankton,’ NASA spokesman Dan Huot told Space.com.
‘What they’re actually looking for is residues that can build up on the visually sensitive elements, like windows, as well as just the hull of the ship itself that will build up whenever they do thruster firings for things like re-boosts. That’s what they were taking samples for. I don’t know where all the sea plankton talk is coming from.’
*Also see http://en.itar-tass.com/non-political/745635
Learn more here http://rt.com/news/181472-iss-marine-plankton-space