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New Species of Bacteria Discovered on Space Station

Four species of Bacteria are identified in the international space station out of which three of them previously unknown to science. This creates a question of how they got to the space station and how they survived.Their discovery may be the starting of future efforts to cultivate crops during long spaceflight missions since related species are known to promote the growth of plants and help them fight off pathogens.

Studies have found that certain resilient strains of Bacteria could survive the harsh conditions of space, including dried pellets of Deinococcus bacteria. This type of Bacteria is listed in the Guinness World Records as the world’s toughest which survived on the space station’s surface for three years.

They were deliberately placed there to test the “panspermia” theory, that life exists throughout the universe and maybe transported between planets by space dust, asteroids, comets, or even contaminated spacecraft.

Another research has given results about the  diverse population of Bacteria and fungi associated with the human body inside the International space station. Those Bacteria and fungi are more protected and are subjected to low gravity, recirculated air, and high levels of carbon dioxide.

The new Bacteria were similarly identified from swabs of various locations inside the space station. They were discovered on a dining table, on an overhead panel in a research area used to study low gravity, the Cupola observatory, and the last one was found on the old air-purifying filter. The last one has already identified that had been returned to Earth. All of them are rod-shaped  belonging to the Methanobacteriaceae family which are found in soil and fresh water, where they help to promote plant growth and defend against pathogens.

Christine Moissl-Eichinger, a microbiologist at the Medical University of Graz, Austria, said that all microbes in the space station are from earth.

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