View Full Version : Diatoms on the Space Station

2014-Aug-23, 02:53 AM
In 2011 our Mars rover dicovered an outcrop of what had all the properties of diatomaceous earth (Gertrude Weise). NASA scientist for some unknown reason decided it was a hot spring deposit and not diatomaceous earth. I raised the question on this forum as to whether diatoms could survive travel through s[pace. I never found an answer. Today Russians found diatoms alive on the outside of the windows of the space station.. It will be interesting if they detect any species that are foreign to earth .Maybe diatoms on earth came from Mars.

2014-Aug-23, 02:58 AM
Surviving a few years of exposure to the outside of the ISS is not the equivalent of surviving thousands to millions of years in deep space. Higher radiation outside the magnetosphere, greater temperature extremes, no outgassing from window materials, the passage of time, and the big "boom" punctuating eather end of the trip are all factors to be taken into account in a potential lithopanspermia event.

Van Rijn
2014-Aug-23, 10:31 AM
Today Russians found diatoms alive on the outside of the windows of the space station.

There is a short, unconfirmed, unclear claim made by a Russian official, according to a Russian news agency. No detail, no peer reviewed scientific paper, not even anything NASA had heard about. See:


Keep in mind that it has already been shown that spores can remain viable for some time in LEO, but they need to be put back somewhere with a bit of water before they can start metabolizing again. So the "alive" aspect isn't terribly interesting unless they are claiming something growing.

2014-Aug-23, 03:35 PM
Tardigrades (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tardigrade) (water bears) have long been shown to survive hard vacuum, as well as temperature extremes and radiation.

The most probable explanation of finding such creatures in orbit on a body that came from Earth is that the creatures came from Earth too.

Ross 54
2014-Sep-20, 06:24 PM
Someone from the German Space Agency has reportedly addressed the matter of diatoms on the International Space Station, within the last couple of days, the first that has been heard about this in quite some time. Bacterial diatoms were apparently found. It is unclear if these were alive at that time. The origin of these organisms remains speculative. It has been suggested that they were carried up from Earth's surface by some wind or air current. The ISS orbits at an altitude of 330 kilometers (205 miles). That fact makes this explanation seem improbable.