Well, this is interesting. Apparently Russian cosmonauts have found life on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS), clinging to the structure in the deadly vacuum of space.
Russian press agency ITAR-TASS is reporting that the team on the station has found microorganisms on the exterior of the station, and seemed to be pretty shocked about the discovery themselves.
The find was apparently part of a series of experiments conducted to determine whether organisms can live on the surface of the space station, and according to the report, they found that organisms can survive on the surface “for years” amid factors of a space flight. Those factors include temperature conditions, zero gravity and cosmic radiation.
According to the report, the researchers used high-precision equipment to find the organisms, which they believe to be sea plankton that is being lifted the full 205 miles to the station by atmospheric currents. A wide pitch, but it’s about the only thing that makes sense. Here’s how Russian ISS orbital mission chief Vladimir Solovjev explained it:
“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.”
As Sploid notes, the findings could have far-reaching implications. If sea plankton can survive outside the space station, that means other potential organisms could latch on to comets or asteroids and blast around the universe too.