The International Space Station seen from space shuttle Atlantis in 2011. Photo: NASA

In an interview Monday, Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov reported bacteria had been found on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS) — and it hadn't been there when the ISS modules launched. Instead, the microorganisms swabbed from the cracks and crevices of the space station had come from outer space, he said.

But, but, but: The details of the analysis are so far thin. And, in a previous mission, bacteria from Earth made it to the space station via a tablet, supporting the possibility of contamination this time, too. Recent research also seems to indicate microbes can get kicked high above Earth in space dust and by other space weather events, which offers another very plausible reason for how bacteria wound up on the ISS hull.

The bottom line: The bacteria probably came from Earth itself. "Microbes are still partying at 9 miles up and have been found as high as 47 miles above the surface," Mary Griggs wrote in Popular Science.

Go deeper

Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. EST: 32,356,829 — Total deaths: 984,813 — Total recoveries: 22,278,696Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m EST: 6,997,468 — Total deaths: 203,147 — Total recoveries: 2,710,183 — Total tests: 98,481,026Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.

Florida fully lifts coronavirus restrictions on restaurants

Photo: Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Friday the state will completely reopen its economy, allowing restaurants to operate at full capacity and barring localities from ordering businesses to close.

Why it matters: The state became one of the world's epicenters for the virus in July, forcing DeSantis to pause its first round of reopening.

3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Eyeing the end of gas-powered cars

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Gasoline-powered cars may be going the way of the woolly mammoth, even if it will take decades to replace them and seems hard to fathom today.

The big picture: Internal combustion engines (ICEs) have powered automobiles for more than 100 years. But the shift to electric vehicles, slow to materialize at first, is now accelerating due to tightening government policies, falling costs and a societal reckoning about climate change.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!