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.

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Americans reflect on Independence Day amid racism reckoning

A Black Lives Matter banner and a United States flag on the facade of the U.S. embassy building in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Simon Shin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

America's leaders are rethinking how they view Independence Day, as the country reckons with the historic, unequal treatment of people of color during a pandemic which has disproportionately affected nonwhite Americans.

Why it matters: The country’s legacy of racism has come into sharp focus in the weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. From Confederate statues to Mount Rushmore, Americans are reexamining the symbols and traditions they elevate and the history behind them.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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  4. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
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Washington Redskins to review team name amid public pressure

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins have announced they will be conducting a review of the team's name after mounting pressure from the public and corporate sponsors.

Why it matters: This review is the first formal step the Redskins are taking since the debate surrounding the name first began. It comes after weeks of discussions between the team and the NFL, the team said.