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Astronauts Just Found Sea Life in Outer Space. Seriously.

Astronauts Just Found Sea Life in Outer Space. Seriously.

Written by Viola Knowles

Russian astronauts, or cosmonauts, have discovered living organisms clinging to the exterior of their International Space Station.

The microscopic creatures were discovered during a space walk to clean the surface of the vessel, and they’ve reportedly been identified as a type of sea plankton. But scientists have no idea how they got there.

“Results of the experiment are absolutely unique. This should be studied further,” Russian ISS Orbital Mission Chief Vladimir Solovyev told ITAR-TASS.

Currently, the Russian space agency is unable to explain how sea plankton — you know, from Earth’s oceans — ended up on a vessel in outer space. Their only explanation is that atmospheric currents may be lifting the particles from the ocean all the way to the station — about 205 miles up in the sky.

That seems totally insane.

Scientists initially thought they were contaminants produced by the engines of incoming and outgoing spaceship traffic, but boy, were they wrong.

The theory that organic life may have spread across space by traveling on comets and asteroids will be made more credible if the sea plankton is found to be growing or multiplying.

This post originally appeared on RYOT.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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240 comments

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10:16AM PDT on Oct 2, 2014

If the heat generated by going through earth's atmosphere warranted the fitting special heat resistant tiles on the exterior of space shuttles, I don't see how these creatures could have survived if they have been lifted off earth's oceans.

9:46PM PDT on Sep 5, 2014

wow

7:52PM PDT on Aug 30, 2014

Fascinating!

4:55PM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

Very cool, if updrafts brought these critters into space. Not unheard-of either, since waterspouts have been known to deposit fish miles inland. Not that farfetched for microorganisms find their way into the ionosphere....


Russian news, hmm: ...Plankton....Putin - what traits do these 2 characters share besides a monocular vision of the world?

12:17PM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

Thank you

7:15AM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

So much space junk floating around earth; they may have came from something that was sent to space for experimental projects.

12:27AM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

Thank you!

9:44PM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

Has Putin found a way to reproduce himself?

6:12PM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

The idea of life forms traveling on comets, or asteroids, devoid of atmosphere, seems a bit of a stretch to me. Complex proteins, enzymes, I can fathom.
Plankton from our oceans being blown that far up, or somehow delivered by visiting shuttles, seems a bit more plausible.

2:13PM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

I wonder how far up they can be blown...or survive. The Earth's atmosphere does more of a fadeout in its upper regions than have a distinct boundary.

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