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NASA skeptical of Russia's ISS claim

Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure
Russia's space agency claims to have found sea plankton on the outside of the International Space Station. Wait, what?

A report in ITAR-TASS quotes Russia's ISS mission chief saying, "We have found traces of sea plankton and microscopic particles on the illuminator surface. This should be studied further." The report claims this finding is part of a long-term study, which proves some life can exist in space.

The discovery apparently occurred after Russia's two cosmonauts currently onboard the ISS started cleaning off the station's illuminators - that's space language for "windows." The astronauts reportedly discovered the plankton after examining the residue on the illuminators.

State-run TV network RT confirmed the news - also referring to the find as part of a study. Since the plankton isn't native to the ISS resupply launch sites in Kazakhstan, the prevailing theory appears to be that this plankton was blown into orbit from the surface of the ocean by rising air currents.

If that sounds pretty far-fetched to you, then don't worry. NASA's a little skeptical of the news, too.

A NASA spokesman told Space.com the agency hadn't been informed of the discovery, and noted the Russian astronauts weren't looking for plankton while cleaning the windows. "What they're actually looking for is residues that can build up on the visually sensitive elements, like windows. ... That's what they were taking samples for. I don't know where all the sea plankton talk is coming from."

The idea isn't totally unreasonable, though - in 2007, a hardy microscopic creature known as the tardigrade became the first living organism to survive exposure to space - they've also weathered extreme temperatures, pressures, radiation, and possibly every mass extinction event in history. And in 2013, NASA scientists raised the alarm that contaminated parts on the Curiosity rover might have accidentally carried Earth bacteria to Mars.

Russian cosmonauts might only have six years left to find any more plankton up there at the ISS. The head of Russia's space agency told reporters in May Russia only plans to commit to funding the ISS until 2020.

This video contains an image from NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems‚Äč.

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dan_crabtree August 21 2014 at 11:09 PM

Obama shut down nasa for the most part..decided russia and china could have everything out there..besides he has twenty million new immigrants to fund..

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19 replies
Tim and Marnie August 21 2014 at 11:46 PM

America is no longer first in space. Or anything else thanks to our traitor president.

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15 replies
Jim Harvey August 21 2014 at 11:21 PM

Nasa Scientists are useless. They don't actually have jobs, they just draw paychecks. Thanks Obama!

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6 replies
wtrfrd August 22 2014 at 12:04 AM

Most people have no concept of how much the space program contributed to our economy and our quality of life. An unfortunate fact is that prior to that historically nearly 90% of all major discoveries and advancements were made during times of war. Plasma... penicillin, although discovered earlier, was determined to be untenable to produce at a meaningful level. WWII created the need to do so and a solution was developed. The advancement of aviation was principally developed as a weapon of war. The race to develop the Atomic bomb created Nuclear power as an energy source... and powers the naval vessels of most developed nations. BUT THEN.... the race for space finally presented us with a peaceful competitiveness to research, create, produce, materials, synthetics, technologies, communication, mechanics, and too many to list. Now we have a government that has created the lie that none of this happened. Now we have watched our nation stagnate and decline based on the principal of entitlement... this is the virus which will annihilate us.

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8 replies
Jim August 22 2014 at 12:07 AM

The plankton hops up into space, gets bombarded by cosmic rays, falls back to earth, grows huge and eats Chicago.

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6 replies
frankiegallo33 August 22 2014 at 6:45 AM

Send Obama up there for about 50 years to study life on the moon.
He's worthless here!

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2 replies
nannymel frankiegallo33 August 22 2014 at 10:44 AM

Best idea ever!!!!

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savannahswithgod frankiegallo33 August 22 2014 at 3:53 PM

Well if he takes Wall Street with him we might have some value here for 'We the People'?

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randmhunley August 21 2014 at 11:49 PM

too bad
if we had a shuttle ,we could go check it out
but since we depend on russia to
go back to space because NASA has been looted and sold the the highest bidder
WE MAY NEVER KNOW IF ITS TRUE
or not

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4 replies
Practical Nomad August 21 2014 at 11:38 PM

Me thinks the Cosmonauts are ******* down too much Vodka. Potato peels maybe, but Sea Plankton blown into orbit from the surface of the ocean by rising air currents? >>Russians take another swig of Vodka, or in Russian - Wodka<<

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1 reply
jeanpoetpicard Practical Nomad August 22 2014 at 2:01 AM

Those Cosmonauts had better be careful if they take their helmets off to enjoy those balmy plankton blowing breezes. They don't know where it's been!!!!

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1 reply
savannahswithgod jeanpoetpicard August 22 2014 at 3:55 PM

They say they look like crumpets that momma use to make in Merry Old England back in the day.

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Michael Dubacher August 21 2014 at 10:39 PM

Sea weed ? more like just weed.

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balaland August 22 2014 at 2:07 AM

Like a candle gives off heat, our planet gives off it's life essence , life finds a way...

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2 replies
balaland balaland August 22 2014 at 2:13 AM

Sorry A O L timelag.....

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savannahswithgod balaland August 22 2014 at 3:54 PM

Yours and mine reincarnation. Chat with the Lord in 2005, 'maybe not this lifetime'.

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