Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov told Russian news agency TASS on Monday that bacteria from outer space was discovered on the exterior surface of the Russian portion of the International Space Station (ISS).
“According to him, during spacewalks from the International Space Station under the Russian program, the cosmonauts took samples with cotton swabs from the station’s external surface. In particular, they took probes from places where the accumulation of fuel wastes were discharged during the engines’ operation or at places where the station’s surface is more obscure. After that, the samples were sent back to Earth,” wrote TASS.
“And now it turns out that somehow these swabs reveal bacteria that were absent during the launch of the ISS module. That is, they have come from outer space and settled along the external surface. They are being studied so far and it seems that they pose no danger,” the Russian astronaut said.
Shkaplerov assured the bacteria does not pose any risk to life on Earth and were brought in accidentally to the interior of the ISS on tablets stored outside the vehicle.
Russia currently is the sole provider to NASA for rocket engines that can carry heavy payloads into space. A new contract was recently signed for future deliveries.
American commercial space companies are rapidly taking business from Russian state-sponsored space operations, reducing their former overwhelming lead to around 30% of the market this year.