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International Space Station crew baffled by bacteria discovery

The crew of the International Space Station (ISS) has reportedly been left baffled after discovering “drug-resistant bacteria” on board.

Researchers orbiting Earth have confirmed the presence of the bacteria, which poses a risk of evolving into even more resilient strains that could defy current treatments – but they have no clue as to how it got there.

The unique microgravity environment of the ISS is suspected to be a factor in the bacteria’s survival.

The mystery deepens as the team cannot recall how the bacteria was introduced to the station.

Life in space offers different growth conditions for organisms, leading to alternative evolutionary paths compared to their terrestrial counterparts.

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A recent investigation focusing on Enterobacter Bugandensis has resulted in the isolation of 13 strains from the ISS, with studies indicating significant differences in their development when compared to similar strains on Earth, reports the Daily Star.

Alarmingly, the ISS bacteria are associated with serious infections such as sepsis and have demonstrated a heightened resistance to drugs and medical treatments than those found on our planet.

Although the potential impact on the health of ISS inhabitants remains uncertain, this discovery serves as a stark warning to scientists on Earth, preparing them for the possibility of these more formidable bacteria returning home, as reported by Gizmodo.

At present, the potential risk of the bacteria hitching a ride from space to Earth remains a mystery. Astronauts are instructed to pack lightly, yet it seems elusive microbes and bacteria have still managed to stow away on board.

This development emerges as calls intensify for NASA to establish their own version of ‘Starship Troopers’ as Martian materials are transported back to our planet, potentially carrying unknown microbial life or even extraterrestrial organisms within their haul.

A collective advocating for the formation of an “astrobiodefence” unit has alerted the public to the possibility of significant alterations in the rocks and minerals being returned from Mars.

In a move highlighting the gravity of the situation, Democratic Congresswoman Donna Shalala alongside Susan Brooks, an ex-US Attorney and Republican Congresswoman issued a cautionary statement urging the space agency to proceed with care when bringing Martian samples back.

“Space exploration provides some of the greatest challenges and opportunities of our time. But as we venture further into the unknown, we also expose ourselves to new and previously unforeseen dangers,” they jointly cautioned.

With NASA’s multi-billion-dollar budget earmarked for sample return missions, the agency has under £8.8billion at its disposal. A portion of this funding could be allocated to the proposed “astrobiodefence” initiative.


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