Space Fungi???

I’m sure we have all heared about the “space fungi” that is said to hitch a ride with MIR when it plops into the water later in the month, but what exactly is this ‘fungi’?

It is really a living fungus? How did it get there? Is this the first time we have heard about it? Is my use of ‘fungus’ and ‘fungi’ correct?

I’m taking a stab that you’re not talking about the Ren and Stimpy episode. may be illuminating. It says the fungus is from earth and has been mutated by high levels of radiation.

I take it by that site that the fungi is inside the space craft and not outside.

Silly question, I know, but the news reports never specified. They said, “if the fungus survives the re-entery…” and this (to me)seemed to suggest that it was outside. (If it was inside, I’m feel pretty sure that some would survive as the whole station is not going to burn up.)

The Riverdeep Site contains some more information on the space fungi.

These fungi are growing on the interior, not the exterior, of the space station (I think most fungi would be greatly challenged to survive the vacuum, cold, and lack of water in space… except perhaps if they’re encysted in some way, and even then I’m doubtful).

I don’t know how likely it is that the fungi will survive reentry, but I’m doubtful that even if they could, they’d survive the splashdown. Relatively few species of fungi are marine, and those likely to have hitchiked a ride on the astronauts & cosmonauts are unlikely to be the few marine species. Of course, anything’s possible… from the Russians missing the ocean to parts falling overland to bits of the station or even just spores of fungi surviving.