Invasion of the Space Germs

This just popped up in my Google News feed.

Just off the top of my head, this is either complete bullshit from the Russkis, or the most significant discovery of the last three hundred years. If I were a betting man, I would put a bit on the first option. But dear Lord have mercy - what if it ain’t?

Yes, yes, I know it isn’t going to make anyone on Earth sick or anything - War of the Worlds is fiction. But think of the implications of doubling our sample size on micro-organisms?


PS - Achoo!

I would expect these are actually normal earth organisms that spend their lives drifting high in the atmosphere. That whole field is just beginning to be studied.

I’m also dubious about the claim that the ISS was completely surgically clean when launched – not to mention all the things that have docked with it over the years.

That station docks with anything. I’m not surprised it picked up an STD.

Remember – if you rendezvous with a spacecraft, you’ve also rendezvoused with every other spacecraft that spacecraft has rendezvoused with.

Could just be bacteria and other microorganisms transferred from the glove or space suit of the cosmonaut who was collecting the samples. Or any of the many space walkers who went before him.

All diseases are spatially transmitted.

You humans. Always shooting your DNA at each other. It makes me sick!

If they can study these things, the question shouldn’t be too hard to resolve. If they have the same genetic code as Earthly life, then they are Earthly life. If they don’t, then they’re not.

And while these things are almost certainly not extraterrestrial, that doesn’t mean they’re not interesting. Whenever we find life, even Earthly life, in a place where we hadn’t found it before, we learn many new things, sometimes with wide-ranging implications. The single-celled critters that live in the boiling springs of Yellowstone, for instance, were just a curiosity… until they became the basis of a large chunk of modern genetic technology.

Jimmy Carr has a Spiderman bit you should see…:smiley:

Maybe it’s the Andromeda Strain! Hide your rubber bits!

Must be from space. There’s no way that bacteria was already on the craft at launch time, or in the air, or transferred from an astronaut, or the sample was contaminated after the fact. I for one welcome our new bacterial overlords.

I’m not sure that would settle it. If they are recognisable as a descendant of something on Earth, then it’s reasonable to say they probably came from here.

If they are new to science, but similarly coded to terrestrial life, that could just indicate that life on earth was seeded from space. (Panspermia)

If they’re very different, it certainly supports the notion that they are alien, but one other possibility is that they originated here (independently of our lineage) but are now either extinct or hard to find on the planet’s surface.

Either way, if the reports are true (which sadly, I doubt), there are interesting implications