Well this is interesting: an article on CNET by Eric Mack, based on a Nov. 27 report from the Russian news agency TASS, discusses findings by Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov that “living bacteria from outer space” were found within samples collected during spacewalks several years ago (Shkaplerov was a member of Expedition 42 in November 2014.)
The samples were swabbed from outside surfaces of the International Space Station, including areas where engine fuel waste is expelled, and brought back to Earth for study. In addition to some terrestrial bacteria that were accidentally brought to the ISS via contaminated computer tablets, there were also living organisms found that “were absent during the launch of the ISS module.”
“That is, they have come from outer space and settled along the external surface,” Shkaplerov stated. “They are being studied so far and it seems that they pose no danger.”
You’ve heard of the Man in the Moon and the Face on Mars, now meet the Mercury Man!
This image, obtained by the MESSENGER spacecraft in July 2011, shows a portion of the floor of Caloris basin — the remnants of an enormous impact that occurred on Mercury nearly 4 billion years ago. Rising from the surface (and dramatically lit by sunlight from the west) is what appears to be a humanoid form. Is this some ancient structure built by an alien race, aimed our way in the hopes of us one day discovering it?
Nah, it’s just pareidolia.
This is what Australia’s COSMOS Magazine is letting anyone who’s interested do – from all over the world – in celebration of the country’s National Science Week. Their target: a planet called Gliese 581d, a so-called “super-Earth” orbiting a small red dwarf star just over 20 light-years away, in the constellation Libra.
Gliese 581d is eight times more massive than Earth, and is theoried to be covered by a planet-wide ocean. While scientists have no idea if there are any civilizations on Gliese – or any life at all for that matter – it is the most promising lead we have so far within a manageable distance.
At the speed of light the message will take just over 20 years to reach Gliese 581d. And even if there’s someone there to receive it, decode it, and send one back, it will be another 20+ years before we get it.
Gives new meaning to the term “snail mail”.
Anyway, check out their site and register to send your message! They will be collecting quips from site visitors over the next 6 days, and then take the text data and blast it into space towards Gliese 581d. Messages are short – 160 characters – and can range from hopeful to cute to silly (my personal choice….I sure hope humor is universal), but all are moderated before being included on the site. Don’t be left behind, send yours today!
More information about the project here:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Thanks to Emily at The Planetary Society for her post about this very cool project. 🙂