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Bacteria Growing in Space

  1. Oct 1, 2014 #1
    Super-bacteria are growing in space ... and we're the ones breeding them


    (CNN) -- Manned space missions bring with them a plethora of challenges to keep astronauts alive and healthy, especially on long-duration space missions. Astronauts need to breathe, eat, drink, excrete their food and drink, and be kept free of infections to stay healthy enough to do their job. The key to an astronauts' wellbeing has been found, somewhat contradictorily, to be a group of tiny organisms -- bacteria.

    A few questions. Could an asteroid possibly with a very small Earth like atmosphere where such bacteria thrive pose a threat to Earth even if the asteroid burnt up in the atmosphere?

    Also would it be possible to use asteroids to grow colonies of edible bacteria that could be harvested and stored as a food supply for deep Sol System missions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 2, 2014 #2
    There are many examples of meteorites from other rocky planets and moons from our solar system which have been found on the Earth, and I would expect the reverse to also be true.
    Some extreamophiles don't need atmosphere to remain viable, so any ejecta which is sufficiently large enough to prevent cosmic rays from passing all the way through could be all that is needed to transport some of the hardy bacteria throughout the solar system.
    Have you heard of 'Panspermia'?
    Have a read of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panspermia
    When we eventually find life on other bodies in our solar system we will be able to sequence 'its' DNA and find out whether it has evolved completely separately to 'us', or whether life on Earth was seeded from it or vice versa.

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