Re: Life discovered on the Moon

From: Doug Jones (
Date: Fri Mar 31 2000 - 10:42:52 MST

Jeff Davis wrote:
> Clearly, one of the Apollo missions collected this sample, three years
> after the arrival of the Surveyor. Anyone know more about this?
> A terrestrial organism still viable after three years in the heat, cold,
> radiation, and vacuum of outer space. I don't know about you, but I'm
> impressed.

A camera was removed from the Surveyor and returned to Earth in a lunar
sample box. As Henry Spencer pointed out on not long
ago, bacteria were found within insulating foam between two circuit
boards, deep inside the camera. (More precisely, it was a sample of the
foam, clipped out through a hole in one of the boards, which tested
positive in culture.)

In that location, the bacteria (probably spores) were protected from
solar UV and x-rays. Yes, it was in vacuum, but the main effect of that
is that it dries things out. Bacteria survive drying pretty well.
Bacteria exposed to sunlight in space would be killed in minutes if not
seconds. UV is nasty stuff, particularly under 200 nm.

Doug Jones
Rocket Plumber, XCOR Aerospace

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:06:50 MDT