An ecosystem of mysterious ‘infectious organisms’ have been found inhabiting the International Space Station, according to a new study.
Scientists at NASA discovered that five different varieties of Enterobacter, a bug similar to that found in hospitals, have been found infesting outer space, posing a risk to astronauts.
According to researchers, there is a 79 per cent probability that the swarming bugs onboard the orbiting space station could lead to disease.
Scientists at NASA have discovered that five different varieties Enterobacter, a bug similar to that found in hospitals, have been found infesting the International Space Station
The myserious space bugs were found onboard the orbiting space station and could pose a risk to astronauts
Scientists fear that astronauts could be at risk of contracting diseases if the mysterious organisms are found to be drug-resistant.
Dr Nitin Singh, the lead author on the space bugs report, said: ‘Given the multi-drug resistance results for these [bacteria] and the increased chance of pathogenicity we have identified, these species potentially pose important health considerations for future missions.’
According to researchers there is a 79 per cent probability that the swarming bugs could lead to disease
While there are fears around the risk the bugs pose to astronauts, scientists have said as of yet the infectious bugs do not pose a threat to those inside the space station
Despite fears around the discovery of the space bugs scientists have stressed that as of yet the mystery organisms do not pose a threat to the humans inside the space station.
Dr Singh added: ‘It is important to understand that the strains found on the ISS were not virulent, which means they are not an active threat to human health, but something to be monitored.’
Dr Kasthuri Venkateswaran, a microbiologist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group and corresponding author of the study, said that three of the strains belonged to a species which caused disease in newborn babies.