Could bacteria found on the surface of a space station prove that alien life is out there? Russian astronaut Anton Shkaplerov thinks so. Shkaplerov told Russian news outlet TASS on Monday that the bacteria appeared to not be from earth.
Shkaplerov said that the bacteria was found while astronauts were doing a swabbing of the surface of the International Space Station, more specifically on an area of the station that was more obscure. The product of the swabbing was sent back to Earth for testing, the results of those tests leading Shkaplerov to question the true origin of the bacteria.
In a statement to TASS he said that “it turns out that somehow these swabs reveal bacteria that were absent during the launch of the ISS module,” continuing on to say that the bacteria had to have come from outer space.
While Shkaplerov thoughts and theories may have some truth behind them, this isn’t the first time Russian astronauts have claimed to have discovered proof of extraterrestrial life. In 2014 Russian officials claimed to have found sea plankton on the surface of the International Space System, but NASA was unable to back this up. NASA has not weighed in on the country’s latest alleged space discovery. Though Shkaplerov said that the recently found bacteria must be from space, science contradicts this.
Dating back, studies have found that unlike Shkaplerov thinks, organisms like bacteria from earth can stay attached to the surface of the International Space Station. According to Russian scientists, there has been evidence of microscopic organisms in space that got there after being pulled directly from the earth.
The existence of life in space is an issue whose debate is far from over. NASA has recently announced that during their next mission in 2020 they are putting a rover on Mars to search for ancient alien life.