Space is one of the harshest environments, but it seems that some bacteria are able to thrive in it. A type of bacteria that is resistant to radiation has managed to survive in an outside area of the International Space Station for more than three years.
The Tanpopo mission, conducted by experts from JAXA, involved the use of dried pellets of the Deinococcus bacteria, which were placed within aluminum plates. These pellets were then placed on exposure panels located on the exterior of the space station.
Conan the Bacterium
Scientists have nicknamed Deinococcus Conan the Bacteria due to its impressive resilience against harsh conditions, including extreme cold, drought, and acid. Its extraordinary resistance to radiation makes it the most radiant-resistant life form, and it is mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The bacteria can withstand an amount of radiation that 3,000 times above the amount that would kill a human. In was spotted for the first time in cans of meat, which were sterilized with the help of radiation. During the experiment, the bacteria were placed in the Exposed Facility found above the Kibo Japanese Experimental Module.
A definite survivor
Previous research revealed that the bacteria could be found at an altitude of 7.5 miles above the surface of the planet. A team of researchers wanted to see if the bacteria could survive in space and a journey to other planets found in the solar system.
Before the study began, scientists placed bacteria pellets of various sized inside the aluminum plates. Data was collected after 12, 24, and 36 months. Bacteria in pellets, which were larger than 0.5 millimeters, survived with partial DNA damage while thicker ones didn’t present any problems. It is estimated that they could survive up to 45 years. This is more than enough for a round trip to Mars and back.
A paper was published in a scientific journal.