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.....According to the specialists from the Russian Academic Institute of Micro-Biological Problems, which took part in the Mir space research, the first microorganisms--bacteria and fungi--were found right after the station was placed into the orbit 16 years ago. They were carried on board together with the space cargo. Although both the space shuttles and the cargo had to undergo a thorough anti-bacterial test, complete sterilization was impossible.
Throughout Mir's life in space, the number of microorganisms grew continuously, one generation replacing another every 20-30 minutes. If in 1990 there were registered 94 species, in 2001 they numbered 140. But the real problem was not the species increasing in number but their growing aggressiveness: each new generation seemed to be more ferocious than the last.......
....But even more intriguing were the revelations of Russian space crewmember Anatoly Serebrov, who confessed that it was not merely microorganisms, which underwent mutations. Several Russian newspapers referred to him saying he had also seen mutating worms. "When one of the station's devices failed and I set to dissembling it, I found there a yellow worm more than a meter long& I have not seen anything of the kind on the Earth," Serebrov said.....
Originally posted by Dermo
....Won't MIR burn up on reentry?
These allegations gave rise to a series of sensational news pieces last year. The stories held that, having come into contact with the local terrestrial species, the "space mutes" would start eating plastic, metal and glass and emit poisonous exhalations.
Igor Popov is a freelance writer based in Moscow, Russia.
Originally posted by kcfusion
Very interesting indeed, was'nt there a thread about some sort of fungus growing on one of the legs of the Rover explorer, I cant find the thread but will post it when i find it.
....Now back to the worms, Where they growing in the atmosphere of the Mir or outside? Did he have to go outside to fix the problem or was it inside, apologies if it sounds like a stupid question but we are dealing with spaceworms after all
Where are these news pieces? You're source is VERY questionable.
Igor Popov is a freelance writer based in Moscow, Russia.
Now that the Zvezda service module has docked and the International Space Station will soon be habitable, a growing number of cosmonauts and astronauts could soon face a new threat -- space fungus.
During a recent mission, Mir crew members noticed that the view from the station's porthole was deteriorating due to an unknown film that was spreading like some horror-movie scum.
The porthole was examined carefully after the crew returned to Earth, with the results shocking researchers and engineers. Although the porthole and other windows were made of extra-hard quartz glass and mounted on titanium covered with enamel, they were partly destroyed by a colony of fungi and bacteria visible to the naked eye.
Engineers later learned that the fungi also damaged electronic equipment on Mir, including a control block for a communications device used on the outpost from 1997 to 1998 during the 24th main mission to Mir.
The microorganisms crept under the steel cover of the block and sat on electrical contacts and polyurethane pieces. As a result, parts of copper cables located nearby also were oxidized.
Subsistence for the microorganisms was certainly not the metal, glass and plastic of those devices, said Natalia Novikova, a deputy chief of the Department at the Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow.
"They consume organic stuff which consists of skin epithelia, lipids and other products of human activity," Novikova said. "These products get into the station atmosphere from human breath, sweat etc.and stick to the stations surfaces."
When Russia's Mir space station falls into Earth's atmosphere this week, the most publicized danger is of one of the fiery pieces crash-landing in an occupied area.
However, when Mir lands on Earth, it may also bring with it a more insidious threat - fungi mutated by their long tenure on the 15-year-old spacecraft.
UA planetary sciences professor Jonathan Lunine, who has done research involving the detection of life on other planets, said the Mir fungus, however, is not a problem for Earth.
"It doesn't seem to be a really terrible threat," he said.
According to wire reports, Russia's Institute of Medical and Biological Problems has isolated aggressive fungi that have inhabited the inside of Mir's control panels and air ducts. The problem came to the attention of space officials when one of Mir's portholes was partially destroyed by a visible fungus colony.
NASA documents reveal that astronauts aboard the Russian space station were cognizant of the fungi and routinely wiped down the interior of the orbiter with specially-prepared fungicidal towels.
Microbes Gain Strength in Space
The salmonella experiment was flown aboard NASA's space shuttle mission STS-115.
Space flight has been shown to have a profound impact on human physiology as the body adapts to zero-gravity environments. Now, a new study led by researchers from ASU’s Biodesign Institute has shown that the tiniest passengers flown in space – microbes – can be equally affected by space flight, making them more infectious pathogens.
“Space flight alters cellular and physiological responses in astronauts, including the immune response,” says Cheryl Nickerson, who led a project aboard NASA’s space shuttle mission STS-115 (September 2006) involving an international collaboration between NASA, ASU and 12 other research institutions. “However, relatively little was known about microbial changes to infectious disease risk in response to space flight.”
Nickerson and lead author James Wilson, professors in ASU’s School of Life Sciences, have performed the first study of its kind to investigate the effect of space flight on the genetic responses and disease-causing potential, or virulence, of Salmonella typhimurium, the main bacterial culprit of food poisoning. Their results, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveal a key role for a master regulator, called Hfq, in triggering the genetic changes that show an increase in the virulence of salmonella as a result of space flight.
The results of these studies hold potential to greatly advance infectious disease research in space and on Earth, and could lead to the development of new therapeutics to treat and prevent infectious disease.
To study the effects of space flight, Nickerson and colleagues sent specially contained tubes of salmonella in an experimental payload aboard the space shuttle Atlantis. The tubes of bacteria were placed in triple containment for safety, and posed no threat to the health and safety of the crew.
By: Leslie Mullen
When diseases cross the species barrier and infect humans, they dominate news headlines. Just imagine, then, the reaction if potentially infectious pathogens were found in rock samples from Mars.
As we look toward exploring other worlds, and perhaps even bringing samples back to Earth for testing, astrobiologists have to wonder: could alien pathogens cross the "planet" barrier and wreak havoc on our world?
Even though there is no proof of bacterial or viral pathogens anywhere except Earth, there is already a worried advocacy group called the International Committee Against Martian Sample Return, and science fiction novels like "The Andromeda Strain" depict nightmare alien infection scenarios. The possibility of cross-planetary contamination has concerned NASA since the early days of the Apollo program, so, as a precaution, the astronauts were quarantined for three weeks after they left the moon.
.....Compared to bacteria that remained on Earth, the space-traveling salmonella had changed expression of 167 genes. After the flight, animal virulence studies showed that bacteria that were flown in space were almost three times as likely to cause disease when compared with control bacteria grown on the ground.
Originally posted by ziggystar60
They consume organic stuff which consists of skin epithelia, lipids and other products of human activity....
If something's alive, it has to eat something else, or take in gases and light to synthesize molecules needed to maintain it. What Dr. Levin did was to provide organic nutrients labeled with carbon-14 in a solution that was applied to the soil samples. If there were living organisms present, they would consume the nutrient and eventually give off radioactive carbon dioxide as a waste product. Interestingly, the labeled release detector showed carbon-14 labeled carbon dioxide being given off in seven of nine experiments taken on Viking.
Fungi are characterized by the fact that they are generally multicellular organisms, with a nucleus and a cell wall made of chitin (the same material that makes up the external skeletons of insects) and a unique mechanism of acquiring nourishment. In distinction from plants, which make their own food ("autotrophs", via chlorophyll), and animals which eat food ("heterotrophs", via eating plants or other animals), fungi neither eat nor make food: they absorb food.
If you were a fungus and you wanted to "eat" a chocolate cake, you would stick your fingers into the cake, drip digestive chemicals off your fingers, and absorb the cake directly through your skin into your body! That is how fungi eat: they send parts of their body (hyphae) directly into their food, secret chemicals which helps to break the food down into simpler molecules, and then asbsorb the food directly into their cells.
Fungi are not rare: they are everywhere. Just leave a piece of bread or fruit out on a plate and see how long it takes for a colony of fungi to grow. Compare this to plants: if you left out a tray of soil, how long might it take for a plant to sprout? Years? Fungi are everywhere, with billions of spores settling out of the air all the time. They are also present on the roots of virtually all vascular plants (ferns, conifers, and flowering plants), which depend on the fungi for many things.
Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AEC) have found evidence that certain fungi possess another talent beyond their ability to decompose matter: the capacity to use radioactivity as an energy source for making food and spurring their growth.
Detailing the research in Public Library of Science ONE, AEC's Arturo Casadevall said his interest was piqued five years ago when he read about how a robot sent into the still-highly-radioactive Chernobyl reactor had returned with samples of black, melanin-rich fungi that were growing on the ruined reactor's walls. "I found that very interesting and began discussing with colleagues whether these fungi might be using the radiation emissions as an energy source," explained Casadevall.
If you were a fungus and you wanted to "eat" a chocolate cake, you would stick your fingers into the cake, drip digestive chemicals off your fingers, and absorb the cake directly through your skin into your body......
...... the capacity to use radioactivity as an energy source for making food and spurring their growth.
No wonder fungus can grow even in space. I certainly wouldn't be a shocker to me if there is some kind of fungus growing and thriving on Mars also...
Results of many years of the survey of highly specific evolution of quantitative and species composition of microflora of the MIR environment are reviewed. Analysis of the data enabled listing of microorganisms-declinous fungi with the ability of residential colonization of structural materials of the interior and equipment of habitable modules of the space station. Results of the studies of variability and level of similarity/affinity on the basis of DNA, polymorphism of strains isolated in space flight, convincingly confirmed this characteristic in the Penicillium chrysogenum cultures. In view of the common origin determined from the signs of genetic alliance, the P. chrysogenum strains isolated on MIR in 1995 can be considered descendants of the cultures found at the beginning of the MIR operation. This ecological expansion of P. chrysogenum in the space station environment gains in prominence due to the fact that representative of this particular species known for its active biodestructive nature were, as a rule, detected in the areas where structural materials of the SALYUT and MIR space stations incurred biological degradation.
......People and goods have been shuttling out of the fungus-reeking Mir for years now, and they must have been carrying millions of spores. Nevertheless, I have to consider this bit of reportage a signature Year 2001 moment. Here we've got a stone-dead space station which is not just technically obsolete and financially broke, but infested with organisms unknown to science.....
.....Russian space officials have played down the threat, but visitors to the orbiter have found numerous types of fungi behind control panels, in air-conditioning units and on dozens of other surfaces.....
.....They don't just live in the dead space station - they're decomposing it...
for some reason when you said replicate i thought of stargate sg1 and the replicators,they pawned the azgard and they were hardcore...anyway space cargo? where from? was it maybe just floating around in tiny tiny little dust particles in space....could fungi survive such conditions?