Unknown Microbes Discovered on International Space Station

No it's not Life, the 2017 feature film starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds that randomly had a rumor attached to it at one point that it was a secret prequel to Venom, it's REAL! Science Alert brings word of four different straings of bacteria that were found to have been living on the International Space Station by researchers from the US and India. This is a classic good news, semi-shocking news, with the later being three of the strains "were, until now, completely unknown to science," while the good news is that in the end they weren't harmful bacteria, but were actually beneficial to those on board the ISS.

Another of the surprises with this announcement is that three of the four microbes were first discovered on the ship back in 2015 and 2016. According to the report "one was found on an overhead panel of the ISS research stations, the second was found in the Cupola, the third was found on the surface of the dining table; the fourth was found in an old HEPA filter returned to Earth in 2011." Each of the bacteria are from a family native to soil and freshwater and were beneficial to the crew's attempts at growing plants and food on the ISS.

"To grow plants in extreme places where resources are minimal, isolation of novel microbes that help to promote plant growth under stressful conditions is essential," Dr Kasthuri Venkateswaran (Venkat) and Dr Nitin Kumar Singh of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement, revealing that the microbes were scanned in space and the scans sent back to Earth rather than samples themselves making the trip.

"Instead of bringing samples back to Earth for analyses, we need an integrated microbial monitoring system that collect, process, and analyze samples in space using molecular technologies," Venkat and Singh added. "This miniaturized 'omics in space' technology - a biosensor development - will help NASA and other space-faring nations achieve safe and sustainable space exploration for long periods of time."


So good news, unlike Life, the microbes found on the ISS were beneficial to the research being conducted on the station and not actually a life form that destroys the crew like the evil "Calvin" in that film. Yes, really.

For those that don't recall the Venom connection, fans noticed that in one trailer for the film that a piece of crowd reaction stock footage previously seen in Spider-Man 3 was also being used in Life. This somehow spawned the rumors that it would be connected to the Spider-Man spin-off, but in the end was just a case of internet telephone run amok.