While Russian cosmonauts did a space walk around the ISS, International Space Station, they found an interesting microorganism- sea plankton, reports the Daily Mail this morning.
There is no marine plankton in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, from where the Russian modules of the station blasted off into space.
The two Russian cosmonauts used wipes to clean and polish the surface of windows - also known as illuminators - on the Russian segment of the ISS. During this space walk and cleaning chore, they found a substance. Once they returned inside the space station a test was done with ‘high-precision equipment. It found the presence of plankton.
What explanation is provided for this discovery? Vladimir Solovyev, head of the Russian segment of the ISS, stated that this proves that some organisms are capable of living in outer space despite the sub zero freezing temperatures. The consensus is that the sea plankton was uplifted the 260 miles from the ocean surface in wind currents that leave the earth atmosphere.
The space walk and cleaning of the illuminators was an exercise to test how to clean a satellite surface in space. It has been found that the ISS exterior is heavily contaminated. This contamination is due to the exhaust of space aircraft and other contaminants released from inside the ISS while working outside.
The Russians do not plan to continue at the ISS past the date of 2020. That contract date ends their partnership in financial contribution. The US is contracted through 2024.
The future for life in space and growing plants is possible according to Astroecologist Dr. Michael Mautner. He notes that it would be vital for a future colony to survive on Mars.
The meteorites contain phosphate, nitrates and water. The meteorites can be ground into a substance that acts as soil which would allow growth.
Dr Mautner from Virginia Commonwealth University recently told Motherboard that meteorites often contain phosphate, nitrates, and even water that plants can feed on. The meteor can be ground into a soil-like substance to sustain growth on Mars. He intends to find out items that will lend to space farming.
Oxygen and gravity amongst other necessities need to be studied but it is a start for the future of how man can survive in space.