Bacteria From Beer Lasts 553 Days In Space

Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk

A small English fishing village has produced an out-of-this-world discovery.

Bacteria taken from cliffs at Beer on the South Coast have shown themselves to be hardy space travellers.

The bugs were put on the exterior of the space station to see how they would cope in the hostile conditions that exist above the Earth's atmosphere.

And when scientists inspected the microbes a year and a half later, they found many were still alive.

These survivors are now thriving in a laboratory at the Open University (OU) in Milton Keynes.

The experiment is part of a quest to find microbes that could be useful to future astronauts who venture beyond low-Earth orbit to explore the rest of the Solar System.

OU researcher Dr Karen Olsson-Francis told BBC News: "It has been proposed that bacteria could be used in life-support systems to recycle everything.

"There is also the concept that if we were to develop bases on the Moon or Mars, we could use bacteria for 'bio-mining' - using them to extract important minerals from rocks."

This type of research also plays into the popular theory that micro-organisms can somehow be transported between the planets in rocks - in meteorites - to seed life where it does not yet exist.

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