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Mr Q
2014-Nov-10, 03:29 PM
Recently there was news that when Russian crew members periodically cleaned the outsides of the craft's windows, a green slime was often found and recently this material was examined and found to be originating from the interstellar medium - the "dust" left behind comet passes as the Earth passes through thee areas. It was mentioned on a news broadcast that this material may be the origin of life on Earth, which some scientists disagree about, from the Earth passing through comet debris areas that spawned the very first life forms on the Earth.

Has anyone heard any updates on this topic or is the subject one of those areas that scientists are afraid to enter for fear of ridicule ?

Grey
2014-Nov-10, 03:45 PM
Here (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/11049504/Sea-plankton-found-living-outside-International-Space-Station.html)'s an article, and here (http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/8658/20140821/sea-plankton-found-space-nasa-doubts.htm)'s another. Sounds like it's uncomfirmed at this point; it hasn't really been officially reported to NASA, so we don't have a lot of details. I don't see any speculation that this could be the origin of life on Earth. Rather, I see speculation about how it could have hitched a ride on the way up, which seems rather more likely.

Mr Q
2014-Nov-10, 06:38 PM
From what I heard, the "greenish coating" appeared only sometime after the craft and support vehicles were launched and that the organisms were encountered as the ISS passed through recent or ancient comet paths that the Earth (along its way around the Sun) travels in its Sun orbit and the Sun's orbit around the Galaxy.

Someone aboard the ISS did do some preliminary investigations and found out what it was and then guessed as to how it started to appear on the ISS's exterior (the above reasoning). Of coarse, when it comes to anything NASA investigates and then releases any info, we may never know the real truth. In this case, I'm wondering if the simple explanation (above) will ever be declared publicly since it may upset those who support the "God" theory of how life began on the Earth.

Personally, I think no matter how far back in time we go, there is always the chance of a religious connection but the way I think of it, I assume we may never positively know for sure and that finding this "life form" is just one more discovery that may help explain how (at least here on Earth) life began here. If so, then we can extrapolate out into the beyond for searching for life elsewhere in the universe.

I also heard that this crude "life form" has been existing in space for thousands of millions of years and once it finds a material (the ISS in this instance) to cling on to, it may someday evolve into a higher life form.

Since this forum deals with science, I thought the "discovery" was worth speculating on in a scientific context only. :think:

John Mendenhall
2014-Nov-10, 07:32 PM
Obviously this needs some planned and controlled research; sampling, testing, something more than anecdotes.

Mr Q
2014-Nov-10, 08:53 PM
The reason for my OP is to try to find out if anyone out there has heard of this ISS subject and can offer any additional info on it. Because it suddenly appeared on the media, then as suddenly disappeared, I wanted to find out if anyone else had any further info on the event, such as any NASA info releases, etc.

Swift
2014-Nov-10, 09:35 PM
<snip>
Of coarse, when it comes to anything NASA investigates and then releases any info, we may never know the real truth.
Be careful Mr Q. Such statements sound a lot like you are advocating a conspiracy theory, and if so, this is not the right place on CQ for such things.

Grey
2014-Nov-10, 10:06 PM
Here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alejandro-rojas/german-space-agency-chime_b_5846522.html)'s some additional data from the German space agency.


At an extravehicular activity Russian cosmonauts took samples from the outside of the Russian module. Those samples were then analyzed in a laboratory on Earth. Within this sample bacterial DNA was discovered.

However, the method by which the samples were analyzed in this case is disputed, as it cannot detect all kinds of bacteria and it also can not test whether the discovered bacteria are living and thriving or not.

Also the biomass that can be extracted from such samples is strongly limited so that at the moment no further tests could have been conducted on it. To do this, more samples would be needed.So that sounds more like bacterial DNA was discovered, without being able to be sure whether the bacteria in question were living or not. Certainly bodes further study, of course.

Githyanki
2014-Nov-11, 12:49 AM
Given the high orbital-speeds of the ISS, any microorganisms that can survive in space would be killed and spattered from the impact that would just be biological-compounds.

Colin Robinson
2014-Nov-11, 01:34 AM
Given the high orbital-speeds of the ISS, any microorganisms that can survive in space would be killed and spattered from the impact that would just be biological-compounds.

Impact from what?

I mean, if they were on a plane moving thru the atmosphere, they'd be impacted by air molecules. But an object orbiting in space is different. There are so few molecules about that friction is almost non-existent, which is why the object stays in orbit.

cjameshuff
2014-Nov-11, 01:56 AM
Impact from what?

I mean, if they were on a plane moving thru the atmosphere, they'd be impacted by air molecules. But an object orbiting in space is different. There are so few molecules about that friction is almost non-existent, which is why the object stays in orbit.

From the ISS, which is moving at about 8 km/s relative to any microbes somehow carried up there by the atmosphere. And considerably higher speeds relative to any cometary tails Earth passes through.

Van Rijn
2014-Nov-11, 09:27 AM
Impact from what?

I mean, if they were on a plane moving thru the atmosphere, they'd be impacted by air molecules. But an object orbiting in space is different. There are so few molecules about that friction is almost non-existent, which is why the object stays in orbit.

There isn't a lot of air there, but the atomic oxygen can damage the surfaces of spacecraft in LEO. From:

http://www.chemistry.illinois.edu/research/materials/seminar_abstracts/documents/AbadeerAbstract.pdf


In LEO, atomic oxygen is thought to be the predominant cause for material degradation. Atomic oxygen is generated by photodissociation of molecular oxygen by intense UV light. Because LEO is a vacuum, the chance of recombination of atomic oxygen is lowered. It is the predominant gas in LEO and at typical spacecraft altitudes, there are 109 atoms/cm3
(~2 pM). Atomic oxygen has a high kinetic energy of 4.5 eV/atom (~430 kJ/mol) and when it impacts asurface in LEO the average flux is 1015 atoms/cm2 s and the impact velocity is 7.4 km/s. In LEO, atomic oxygen exists in the ground electronic state with two unpaired electrons.

The energetic collisions of atomic oxygen with surfaces cause oxidation and erosion. Materials in their highest oxidation state are not oxidized and are less affected by atomic oxygen. Collisions of atomic oxygen with hydrocarbon-based polymers (like Kapton® ) can break C-C and C-H bonds and cause oxidation. This results in ejection of gases such as CO2 and CO and the
loss of mass results in considerable material erosion.

So probably not good for microorganisms supposedly on the outside of the ISS, whether they came from inside, or somehow travelled there on their own.

Incidentally, researching methods to resist damage helped lead to an art restoration technique using atomic oxygen. See:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/business/AtomicOxRestoration.html

Van Rijn
2014-Nov-11, 09:55 AM
Someone aboard the ISS did do some preliminary investigations and found out what it was and then guessed as to how it started to appear on the ISS's exterior (the above reasoning). Of coarse, when it comes to anything NASA investigates and then releases any info, we may never know the real truth.

NASA didn't have anything to do with this. This came out of Russia, just as an announcement, not backed up by a peer reviewed scientific paper. An announcement, incidentally, when bickering between the countries over space related subjects had increased.

If they were going to do a paper on this, the first thing they'd have to rule out is contamination of samples either from inside the ISS or on the ground. And it isn't a very big thing for there to be DNA itself, even if from intact bacterial spores. Bacterial spores (which don't metabolize) can survive for a time in a vacuum, if protected.

It would be very unlikely to find is anything metabolizing on the outside of the ISS, since bacterial life would need water, and would need to avoid drying out.

So please don't blame or implicate NASA about something that NASA was never involved with in the first place.

Mr Q
2014-Nov-14, 02:24 PM
As usual, the media gets things wrong. What I heard was that the Russian crew members had known about this substance and never investigated it. Then an American crew member noticed it and questioned what it was. After some "testing", the crew came up with the OP info, according to the news report.

I always question what I hear on the media so posted this subject to see what may be really going on and from what I read so far, the substance indeed needs a lot more investigation before any definite conclusions can be made. But it does make one wonder what's "out there" in space :think:

Colin Robinson
2014-Nov-15, 05:31 AM
As usual, the media gets things wrong. What I heard was that the Russian crew members had known about this substance and never investigated it. Then an American crew member noticed it and questioned what it was. After some "testing", the crew came up with the OP info, according to the news report.

I always question what I hear on the media so posted this subject to see what may be really going on and from what I read so far, the substance indeed needs a lot more investigation before any definite conclusions can be made. But it does make one wonder what's "out there" in space :think:

Where did you find the news report which you consider accurate — the one containing "the OP info"?

Mr Q
2014-Nov-15, 03:21 PM
Where did you find the news report which you consider accurate — the one containing "the OP info"?

It was on a Boston major station (AM) and what I heard prompted me to see what people on here thought and/or had more dependable reports from other sources.

Grant Hatch
2014-Dec-06, 07:04 PM
Here is an article I saw earlier today..... http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/188479-astronauts-find-living-organisms-clinging-to-the-international-space-station-and-arent-sure-how-they-got-there

Van Rijn
2014-Dec-08, 03:52 AM
Here is an article I saw earlier today..... http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/188479-astronauts-find-living-organisms-clinging-to-the-international-space-station-and-arent-sure-how-they-got-there

It's from August 22, and has nothing new on this unconfirmed claim.

Mr Q
2014-Dec-08, 04:27 PM
Thanks for the link and "update" on this interesting event. I have heard of some material (microscopic) being carried aloft to the outer reaches of the atmosphere by such activities as volcanic eruptions or other terrestrial events. From there it's not sure (?) how they got to higher distances.

My first theory, when I heard of this discovery, was that the origin of the microbes were from interstellar space but after learning that some microbes can originate from Earth through atmospheric convictions put a whole new light on my OP theory.

I still believe that life on Earth did arrive via cometary action and when I heard of this ISS surface material, it, for a short time seemed to reinforce this theory but alas, this material most likely came from the Earth. But it did spark my theory on how life began on Earth but that spark has faded once again. So time will tell if we ever definitively find out the origin of life here on Earth.:confused:

Van Rijn
2014-Dec-09, 02:16 AM
Thanks for the link and "update" on this interesting event. I have heard of some material (microscopic) being carried aloft to the outer reaches of the atmosphere by such activities as volcanic eruptions or other terrestrial events. From there it's not sure (?) how they got to higher distances.


Again: It was an unconfirmed claim, so it's not established anything *did* get to the ISS. This was just another non-technical article written at the time the claim was made. A claim is not a peer reviewed paper, and a peer reviewed paper would be expected to explain in detail how a sample was taken (assuming there really was a sample), what procedures were used to avoid contamination in the ISS and on the ground, and specific test results.

vincejja
2014-Dec-11, 03:35 PM
Space shuttles (the outsides at least) are not built in sterile environments. My bet is it was carried up from earth. It's the simplest answer. The shuttle came from a place where their IS confirmed life, and went to a place where there ISN'T confirmed life.
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eburacum45
2014-Dec-12, 02:17 PM
If these bacteria were in low Earth orbit they would collide with the ISS at a speed measured in kilometers per second, which would not leave much of their structure in an identifiable state. The most likely origin is that they were brought up on the components of the station, or emitted as some sort of waste dump. Since the ISS toilets don't dump material overboard, perhaps it came from the Space Shuttle systems, which did emit some material if I understand correctly.

Maybe someone with knowledge of space toilets might have a better idea of how this could have occurred.

publiusr
2014-Dec-13, 05:44 PM
Any time there is an undocking, you can't help but leak a little something out that can drift around. Either that or it is some kind of hardy bug that can survive in hypergolic RCS nozzles like they survive smokers, or the like...

I think there was some talk about propulsive venting. There is your cloud of bugs right there. That and shooting off little bags of debris the shuttle had to dodge--or was that from Mir only?

Mr Q
2014-Dec-13, 06:27 PM
Any time there is an undocking, you can't help but leak a little something out that can drift around. Either that or it is some kind of hardy bug that can survive in hypergolic RCS nozzles like they survive smokers, or the like...

I think there was some talk about propulsive venting. There is your cloud of bugs right there. That and shooting off little bags of debris the shuttle had to dodge--or was that from Mir only?

Thinking about it, this seems to be the most likely origin of the material. If so, I would assume the crew would be aware of it and so not concerned about its presence.

GenoCernan
2015-Jan-30, 10:45 AM
If these bacteria were in low Earth orbit they would collide with the ISS at a speed measured in kilometers per second, which would not leave much of their structure in an identifiable state. The most likely origin is that they were brought up on the components of the station, or emitted as some sort of waste dump. Since the ISS toilets don't dump material overboard, perhaps it came from the Space Shuttle systems, which did emit some material if I understand correctly.

Maybe someone with knowledge of space toilets might have a better idea of how this could have occurred.

That's an interesting theory. In the history of human spaceflight, human waste always turns out to be the culprit in one form or another (anyone remember John Glenn's fireflies during Friendship 7?) :)

Mr Q
2015-Jan-30, 04:40 PM
That's an interesting theory. In the history of human spaceflight, human waste always turns out to be the culprit in one form or another (anyone remember John Glenn's fireflies during Friendship 7?) :)

Thinking about all the theories presented so far, it would seem the organisms were carried up from the Earth but we may never know the origin since we on the ground are so concerned about pollution, especially in space.