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Bacteria From Beer Lasts 553 Days In Space

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the i'll-drink-to-that dept.

Space 138

An anonymous reader writes "Some specific bacteria colonies from Beer (the place, not the beverage) left for several days outside the ISS actually survived extreme temperatures, UV and other radiations, lack of water and all the like. They were later brought back to Earth for examination: such resistant bacteria may be the base of life support systems or bio-mining on colonies off Earth, and of course for terraforming, eventually. No clue in the article about how dangerous those bacteria might have become after the exposure or when they'll start eating their examiners."

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Complication for mars missions? (4, Insightful)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | about 4 years ago | (#33343730)

Just goes to show how difficult it will be to confirm whether or not any life found on Mars was there to begin with, or was introduced accidentally.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (1)

ceejayoz (567949) | about 4 years ago | (#33343812)

Not necessarily. It's pretty unlikely that any Martian microbes will be strains at all similar to ones found on Earth - billions of years of evolution will have resulted in wildly different genomes and selected behaviours.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (4, Insightful)

Graff (532189) | about 4 years ago | (#33343936)

It's pretty unlikely that any Martian microbes will be strains at all similar to ones found on Earth - billions of years of evolution will have resulted in wildly different genomes and selected behaviours.

Then if we find microbes on Mars the question will be are they ones native to Mars or just recent ones from Earth that have undergone rapid mutation and evolution in the face of radiation and other radical environmental factors during the journey and the stay on Mars? Yes, there are some ways of classifying such mutated bacteria but it will still muddy the waters a bit.

In the end the question becomes kind of moot anyways. Either way, if life can survive on Mars it will be an exciting discovery.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (2, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | about 4 years ago | (#33343992)

billions of years of evolution may have resulted in wildly different genomes and selected behaviours.

I remember in my BioII class we were given an 'experiment' to flip a penny one hundred times and record the results. We were the only group that did not record 50% heads and 50% tails. Our professor insisted that we had made a mistake, and that with this 'large' number of flips we would have absolutely reached 50%.

Personally, I think we were the only group stubborn enough to actually flip the coin that many times.

Anyway, there's a bit of a gap from what the numbers should do and what they actually do. Which is why we conduct experiments.

Back to topic, it could well be that those same evolutionary selections played out in the same, or perhaps a very similar, order up there on Mars.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33344186)

Bio teachers don't understand statistics? As you get large number of flips you approach 50%, but have less and less chance to actually hit 50% exactly.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33345248)

By keeping the position of orientation of the coin the same, and practicing the application of a consistent flip force, one can get very far from 50%.

I just flipped 8 heads in a row, tail, and then another 6 heads in a row, and then a tail.
P0.05 that these results are not the result of an mechanism that randomly places one side of the coin up.

Lots of games start with a coin toss, but lots of players don't practice this aspect of the game.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (2, Informative)

slyrat (1143997) | about 4 years ago | (#33345254)

I remember in my BioII class we were given an 'experiment' to flip a penny one hundred times and record the results. We were the only group that did not record 50% heads and 50% tails. Our professor insisted that we had made a mistake, and that with this 'large' number of flips we would have absolutely reached 50%.

Well with coin flipping there can be huge variance on the 50-50 depending on the coin and how it is caught or where it lands. Here is an article [codingthewheel.com] I found about it that references some research into it.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (1, Troll)

sexconker (1179573) | about 4 years ago | (#33348502)

And that article is bunk.

They like to trot out shitty arguments about the coin not really flipping in the air, just wobbling (bullshit - it flips), or how the two faces aren't the same weight and (bullshit - they're nearly identical, and a coin falls pretty much straight down, as opposed to a weighted die which relies on sliding vs tumbling), etc. (also bullshit).

Coin flips are really fucking fair.
Try it yourself if you don't believe it.
Go flip a coin a few thousand times.

Anyone suggesting otherwise is a lying asshat looking for attention.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (1)

Smauler (915644) | about 4 years ago | (#33345964)

You or your teacher don't understand statistics - it's very unlikely that you'll get 50 heads and 50 tails when flipping a coin 100 times. It's the most likely result, but there are 99 other possible results, some of which are very nearly as likely as 50/50. Someone else can do the maths if they want, but as an estimate, I'd guess that you've got a 1 in 15 or so chance of hitting an exact 50/50 distribution.

Simple statistics _is_ sometimes confusing though... For example, nearly everyone gets this wrong : I have 2 children, and one of them is a boy. What is the chance I have 2 boys?

Re:Complication for mars missions? (1)

Alpha830RulZ (939527) | about 4 years ago | (#33346882)

About 51%? (I'm not a statistician). You have one boy, so the odds are whatever the odds are for a random child being a boy, which is slightly greater than 50%. Do I get the prize?

Re:Complication for mars missions? (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | about 4 years ago | (#33347738)

Depends on how he's asking. Could also be ~34%, if he isn't thinking of a specific child's gender. To avoid ambiguity, a better way of phrasing would be "and they are not both girls".

Re:Complication for mars missions? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | about 4 years ago | (#33348120)

It's .333... probably. Phrasing the riddle in English brings in some murkiness... but the idea is there are four possible combinations of two kids: BB, BG, GB, and GG. One of them is a boy, so eliminate GG as a possibility. Therefore there are equal chances of BB, BG, and GB. If one of the kids is a boy, that means there is a 1 in 3 chance that both are boys.

The reason it gives the seemingly nonintuitive answer is because order isn't specified. If he said "My oldest is a boy; what are the odds the younger is, also?" it truly would be a 50/50 chance.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (1, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | about 4 years ago | (#33348600)

Do we have to go over this again, retards?

I have two kids.
One is a boy.

What is the probability the other is a boy?

You, as an observer, are NOT guessing about the outcome of events. BB BG GB GG does not apply.

BB(1), BB(2), BG(1), GB(2) applies.
BB(1) = There are 2 boys and he revealed the first one.

You MUST consider the possible premutations of children AND the various options of revealing information.

The above 4 cases are the only cases which could be true in the given situation. BG(2), GB(1), GG(1), and GG(2) are not possible.

Count them up. 2 out of 4 cases involve 2 boys. 50%, as expected.

Information is being revealed to you - you may or may not be predicting genders of future children. You may or may have been told the gender of existing children. All you know is the possible permutations of 2 children and the piece of information given to you.

This case is NOT equivalent to "Given 2 children, given at least one is a boy, what are the odds both are boys?". The revealing of information about a set is NOT the same as stating given conditions. It does NOT matter if the revealed information and given conditions both result in the same exact subset of possibilities.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (1)

Twanfox (185252) | about 4 years ago | (#33348658)

It would only be a 50/50 chance if the forces affecting boy/girl selection were balanced. They aren't specifically. Many factors contribute to the process and, last I read, the probability was closer to 51-52% boy/48-49% girl based on those factors. Of course, this tends to balance out naturally later on as boys suffer higher mortality rates (both pre and post birth) due to the lack of redundancy of key genes.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33348222)

I'm not sure if I was using this R function correctly, but the probability of getting exactly 50 heads out of 100 would be .07958924. So, yes, it's relatively unlikely that anyone would get exactly 50 heads.

Now, getting less than 50 heads is a different issue.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 4 years ago | (#33347344)

True, but your analogy is deeply flawed. The question is not whether genomes would contain the same number of particular molecules, the question is whether they would contain the same arrangement. In your biology class, did any two produce the exact same *sequence* of heads & tails, e.g. group 1: HHTHTHHTHTTHTT group 2: THTHHTTHHHTHTT -- both of these groups produced the same number of heads and tails, but very different sequences. The odds that they would get at least close to the same totals is very good. The odds they would get the exact same sequence is 1 in 16384 (given I used a sequence of 14 flips). The odds get much more lopsided the longer the sequence. The odds of a native martian genome matching a terran genome are economically remote. (I'd say astronomically remote, but astronomy doesn't deal with numbers that big. Hat tip: Dr. Feynman)

Theory v Practice (2)

Local ID10T (790134) | about 4 years ago | (#33348518)

I remember in my BioII class we were given an 'experiment' to flip a penny one hundred times and record the results. We were the only group that did not record 50% heads and 50% tails. Our professor insisted that we had made a mistake, and that with this 'large' number of flips we would have absolutely reached 50%.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (2, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33344046)

cross contamination between planets happens a lot more than every few billion years. The rock they found in the arctic has only been on earth for a few thousand years.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33347434)

you say that but i'm waiting for the beer bacterium came from a Martian meteoroid slashdot story

Re:Complication for mars missions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33343844)

Interesting point.

When constructing spacecraft, we used to use special garments/masks/gloves for the workers, so as not to bring such stuff to other planets by mistake, and avoid the problems brought to native populations by whalers.

Now we intentionally bring them into space? Perhaps we are preparing for the creation of a garbage dump in space.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (2, Informative)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 4 years ago | (#33344086)

They made a garbage dump in space a LONG time ago. It's called Earth.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (1)

drewhk (1744562) | about 4 years ago | (#33345074)

It would be interesting if we would intentionally send out living material to distant parts of the Universe. Would we succeed "infecting" other planets? How long should we do that to actually cause anything significant?

we may be "Martians" (2, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | about 4 years ago | (#33343884)

Mars probably stablized geologically several hundred million years before earth and may have been the earliest source of life in the solar system. Then glancing meteorites infected the rest of the solar system with Martian life before it died out there.

Re:we may be "Martians" (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 4 years ago | (#33344100)

We may be descended from bacteria that were used in alien life-support systems to recycle everything.

Re:we may be "Martians" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33344608)

Maybe some alien decided he needed a bathroom break and, er, "deposited" some bacteria on Earth.

the hypothesis is called "panspermia" (2, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | about 4 years ago | (#33344754)

That is life originated elsewhere in the universe and spread through it over the eons. To some scientists the machinery of life appears so complicated that it could rarely arise despite quadrillions of earth-like planets. Spreading between the stars after one likely instance would be more likely.

Limited panspermia states life arose once in the solar system and infected every other suitable place: Earth, Mars, Io, Titan, etc., through rare meteor collisions.

Re:the hypothesis is called "panspermia" (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | about 4 years ago | (#33345106)

The evolution of life on earth is fairly well documented.

I could believe that life could spread amongst planets within our solar system, however unless the bacteria have evolved warp drive there really is no realistic way it could spread to other star systems.

origin and evolution are different issues (2, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | about 4 years ago | (#33345494)

olsmeitser writes
"The evolution of life on earth is fairly well documented."

The origin of life is different from its subsequent evolution. Far less is known about it. Paleo-biochemists have focused on creating the fundamental six-chemical citric-cycle from raw chemicals and have lots of difficulties. Robert Hazen has wonder Teaching Course volume on the Origin of Life which spends a couple hours on this topic, which I strongly recommend listening to.
Craig Venter's synthetic biology experiments hint the minimal survivable life configuration is about 400 genes and 2000 chemicals. He has been systematic deleting genes and chemicals from the simplest known cells to see what the minimum must be before death.

Also writes: "unless the bacteria have evolved warp drive there really is no realistic way it could spread to other star systems"

Life has been found buried deep in the earth six miles down. It may not have had contact with general biosphere for tens of millions of years. This suggest that modestly sized rocks may behave as interplanetary "arks" even if they take millions of years to traverse solar systems.

Re:the hypothesis is called "panspermia" (1)

Froggels (1724218) | about 4 years ago | (#33347356)

Space is very big and very old and likely a lot bigger and a lot older than what scientists currently believe. It seems that estimated age of the universe seems to increase with each generation of more powerful telescopes. To me there seems to be no reason to believe that rocks of all sizes containing spores or whatever could not arrive from other planetary systems in our stellar neighborhood. Where did all the heavy metals that we have here on Earth originate? Did they not originate from generations of long dead stars that likely had their own planetary systems? Why should some of it that material not be biological in origin? At their present speed it would *only* take about 10,000 years for the Viking space probes to reach the next closest star-system. I'm not sure if it's moving in that direction or not, but 10,000 years is only a blink of an eye in astronomical terms, so there has certainly been more than enough time for not just some but a lot of interstellar cross contamination to occur.

Re:we may be "Martians" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33345572)

Where is my mod points when I need... This guy cleary wins a +5 interesting

Re:we may be "Martians" (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | about 4 years ago | (#33345992)

That all assumes the 'life is rare' dogma... Why would life be rare, rather than abundant of conditions are right?

Re:we may be "Martians" (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 4 years ago | (#33346290)

"That all assumes the 'life is rare' dogma... Why would life be rare, rather than abundant of conditions are right?"

Five decades of laboratory experiments havent come close yet. Yet I believe they'll eventually succeed. Its just the minimal chemical complexity of life is still immensely complex. Nature may take a long time.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33343946)

Some crucial "low level" differences, variants of biomachinery not seen on Earth (quite possible - there are few variants even on Earth after all), would be still a good hint.

Also, the summary goes too far - yeah, it would be good to depend, for life support of terraforming, on bacteria which can easily survive exposure...but typically they do that as spores, in a non-active state. So not exactly very active about what they usually do; "just" surviving.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (1)

Edge00 (880722) | about 4 years ago | (#33345928)

These bacteria were cyanobacteria from the genus Gloeocapsa, which to my knowledge are non-spore forming.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33344000)

What is the probability that all of their amino acids will be the same and have the same chirality? Probably not very high.

You're missing the point... (1)

searleb (168974) | about 4 years ago | (#33347162)

You're missing the point-- what's the probability that they use amino acids at all? Even if Martian life is an offshoot of proto-Earth life, there's a widely accepted chemical evolution theory called the RNA world hypothesis [wikipedia.org] , which suggests that early terrestrial life was based entirely on RNA, and that proteins and DNA evolved later as more effective machinery (proteins) and more stable information storage (DNA). Even if life from both planets had the same origins, it's incredibly unlikely that they both evolved even the same basic machinery.

Re:Complication for mars missions? (1)

wisdom_brewing (557753) | about 4 years ago | (#33344858)

And on Earth? Was the life here to begin with or was it introduced accidentally?

Re:Complication for mars missions? (1)

cpscotti (1032676) | about 4 years ago | (#33344872)

Well, then we should simply change our definition for life into something like:
"Plants or animals", "Something that displays emotions"
or even, given humanity's current values:
"Believes in God"

This would be very useful, even for solving problems regarding AI.

(I foresee /.ers being used for cosmetics experiments in the future..)

FYI for Americans who may not know (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33343768)

This Beer only smells like piss.

Re:FYI for Americans who may not know (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about 4 years ago | (#33343900)

Actually, interesting story. A-B's beer is specially formulated to ferment inside the bodies of those damn Clydesdales they used to have on the commercials. After it's run it's course through the digestive system of the horse, it's then pissed out into the storage vats that they use pre-bottling it. That's how you get Budweiser. True story.

Of course, you'll always hear myths about it. For example, one of my friends is adamant it was actually a failed recipe for a douching fluid.

Re:FYI for Americans who may not know (1)

Megahard (1053072) | about 4 years ago | (#33344092)

No, actually it smells like Pis [wikipedia.org] .

Sounds like a sci fi movie (1)

paragon1 (1395635) | about 4 years ago | (#33343860)

"Wow, this bacteria survived some really harsh conditions. Let's take it back to the minimally secured lab to test it and see what gives. What could possibly go wrong?"

Re:Sounds like a sci fi movie (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | about 4 years ago | (#33343894)

It's ok. They say they'll use them for life support, so that must not be evil bacteria.

Re:Sounds like a sci fi movie (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33344152)

Unless they are to sustain somebody...evil?

Re:Sounds like a sci fi movie (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33344272)

PS. Or even...[dramatic music]...Evil?

Re:Sounds like a sci fi movie (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33344222)

Seriously, we don't have to be afraid of "mutated strains from space" too much. If some would be indeed different, that would simply mean adaptation to their particular environment - which also means less suited to Earth one & when brought back: typically outcompeted by "terran" strains.

Re:Sounds like a sci fi movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33344638)

Strains on Earth have achieved local optimums, but that is no guarantee that an invader is worse. See for example kudzu in the American south or any of the invasive species in Australia.

Re:Sounds like a sci fi movie (2, Insightful)

berwiki (989827) | about 4 years ago | (#33345178)

But that is not what happens in real life..

Take African Honeys Bees for example. They have to fight so many tough predators in their home environment, that when you introduce them to a bunch of pussy predators in South America, they DOMINATE the landscape.

I'd hate to see how badass a bacteria must be that survived on Mars and in deep space.

Re:Sounds like a sci fi movie (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | about 4 years ago | (#33346564)

They might grow slowly and expend quite a bit more energy focusing on DNA repair than reproduction.

I'd liken the difference between potential Mars bacteria and Earth to the differences in creatures in deep ocean trenches and those at the surface. It's all water but the temps, pressure, and available energy varies widely not to mention differences of the type of available energy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemosynthesis [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sounds like a sci fi movie (1)

berwiki (989827) | about 4 years ago | (#33346706)

again, that is an assumption.
quit assuming you will know how it operates, because you can't and don't.

Re:Sounds like a sci fi movie (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | about 4 years ago | (#33348338)

Are you saying you're not assuming Martian bacteria would thrive and spread they way African Honey Bees did when introduced to South America as per your example?

Not the same thing (1)

sean.peters (568334) | about 4 years ago | (#33346582)

The environmental conditions in Africa are not all that different from those in South America, so when the Africanized bees came across, there was really nothing stopping them. But Earth and Mars are way more different than South America and Africa - enough so that Martian bacteria would probably struggle on earth (they'd almost certainly die from oxygen poisoning, for one thing). Think of it this way: we have a great number of bacteria on earth that are adapted to extremely tough conditions - hot springs, etc. So why haven't they taken over the earth? Because they're adapted to and REQUIRE those conditions. A bacterium that likes living in relatively dry, UV-irradiated soil in frigid temperatures and anoxic conditions is probably not going to fare so well, say, in a room temperature test tube with 20% O2 at STP.

Re:Not the same thing (1)

berwiki (989827) | about 4 years ago | (#33346694)

Still, you don't know do you. I don't want the fate of the earth to rest in your hands.

But I'd certainly let you be the first one to eat some.

Re:Sounds like a sci fi movie (2, Interesting)

osu-neko (2604) | about 4 years ago | (#33347468)

How well to African honey bees do in Antarctica?

The differences in the environment between Africa and South America are not big. For that matter, the differences between the environment in Africa and Antarctica are not that big relative to the differences between the environment between Earth and Mars. When African honey bees take over Antarctica, we'll consider your argument not entirely silly... but still flawed.

What about the beer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33343870)

How long does the beer stay drinkable in space?

The trick... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#33343886)

The survival capabilities of various earthly extremophiles are, indeed, extremely impressive. Particularly the ones resistant to extreme dessication, the evolutionary changes for which often happen to confer substantial radiation resistance.

The trouble, though, is that for this to be useful to us, they need to do more than survive(if survival were an issue, we could just put them inside the spaceship, not outside), we need them to be capable of metabolism and reproduction in extreme environments. You can transport in a climate controlled spaceship, and grow in a biodome; but if your tardigrades or bacteria just shrivel up and go into stasis when you put them outside they aren't going to get much done.

There are a fair number of organisms that basically shrivel up into an invincible spore, resistant to just about everything, when life starts to suck. If you put them outside on mars, they'd probably be just fine a century later if taken in and re-hydrated. It's just that they would have done basically nothing during that time...

Re:The trick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33343976)

There are a fair number of organisms that basically shrivel up into an invincible spore, resistant to just about everything, when life starts to suck.

Indeed, LiveJournal is still up and running.

Re:The trick... (4, Informative)

jwinster (1620555) | about 4 years ago | (#33343990)

TFA mentions that these were not spores, spores have been known to live for years in space, but rather that these were cyanobacteria (photosynthesizing bacteria) that survived, and this is the longest that bacteria of this type have been known to survive.

Re:The trick... (1)

Kurofuneparry (1360993) | about 4 years ago | (#33344838)

He wasn't saying that they formed spores, RTFC. He was saying, rightfully so, that this microbe might not be useful if it, LIKE spore forming bacteria, 'shrivel[s] up and go[es] into stasis'.

The article mentions that the formation between cells might be what allows survival. This survival method, much like the hibernation-like spore stage, probably means that the organism can't do much of anything. This is an important limitation that fuzzy was talking about.

Re:The trick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33344946)

if your bacteria can do useful things under normal conditions but still survive in the unusual ones (even if they dont do anyting useful then) it still makes the systems much more resilient.
it means things can go wrong for a short period without your life support system (the bacteria) going extinct.

if for instance power production gets compromised you can concentrate on the humans with what remaining power you have and completely forget about the bacterial system like you can with normal machines now.

I know this is cliche and all... (3, Funny)

nebaz (453974) | about 4 years ago | (#33343892)

Cue references to the Andromeda strain and all, but this is too much in line with the story from a typical Doctor Who episode.

Bacteria from a small English fishing village have returned from a space trip to be examined on Earth. Next thing you know, someone will be alone in a room with these samples, it will get dark, ominous music will play, and you will hear a single scream. Next the researcher will appear, appropriately tentacled, infecting everyone else on the base. UNIT will come in to help solve the problem. Everyone in the town will die, and life will continue.

obligatory quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33343912)

I for one welcome our new beer devouring overlords.

you lost me at (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33343934)

"the place, not the beverage"

Khan says ... (3, Funny)

masmullin (1479239) | about 4 years ago | (#33343986)

... Beer is a dish best served cold. And it is very cold in space.

Re:Khan says ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33344796)

BEER IN SPAAAAAACE!!!

Fish tacos are bad for your health. (3, Funny)

srk2040 (973509) | about 4 years ago | (#33344032)

Now you know why woman with yeast infection are to be avoided at all costs.

Re:Fish tacos are bad for your health. (1)

StikyPad (445176) | about 4 years ago | (#33345734)

Kingdom fail. Yeast is a fungus.

reading stuff like this (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 4 years ago | (#33344044)

i begin to think less about the idea that we can seed the universe with hardy bacteria

and i begin to think less about the idea that life on earth was seeded exobiologically

i begin to think less about sending life out there, or about how life got here, and i instead think more about the idea that it simply doesn't matter, that it's been a wide four lane two way street forever, and everywhere, that life is boringly common

i begin to entertain the notion that the reality that is most likely, as we explore more and more outside our planet (and eventually, our solar system), that we're just going to find that the basic chemical machinery of life everywhere, dormant or vaguely active, is on the surface of everything, waiting to seed and grow on anything it touches

that life is simply mundane and ubiquitous (although mostly hibernating and waiting and unable to realize its full potential)

and then the REAL story will be looking for and finding what i'll call "complexity magnifiers": special intersections of energy source and hospitality (like liquid water and a sun) where the machinery of life is allowed to turn into amazing agglomerations of increasing complexity... until things like us humans can become reality

and then the real search, the ultimate game of discovery, will be to classify, find, and otherwise make contact with other "complexity magnifiers," wherever they may be or whatever they are, across the universe. and that this will be our ultimate promise in existence, what you could call our purpose (self-discovered)

whether we choose to exploit and destroy those "complexity magnifiers" and whatever or whomever we find there, and grow like a virus, or whether we choose to communicate with whatever is there already, as take care to hold our darker nature in sober check: that will be the ultimate commentary on the entire existence of homo sapiens: tragic mistake or wise benevolence?

Re:reading stuff like this (1)

ddtmm (549094) | about 4 years ago | (#33344520)

what are you talking about?

here (2, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 4 years ago | (#33344590)

smoke this first

Re:reading stuff like this (1)

toastar (573882) | about 4 years ago | (#33344622)

Surviving in space is one thing... Surviving reentry is an entirely different matter.

we're talking bacteria (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 4 years ago | (#33344720)

buried inside a rock or freely floating in and out of the exosphere and drifting on down

Re:reading stuff like this (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#33344802)

Depends on how large you are, how dense, and how aerodynamic.

For something large, fairly dense, and aerodynamic, re-entry is seriously hazardous. Going out in a blaze of glory is a distinct possibility.

For some weedy little spore, terminal velocity is probably slower than a light breeze, and things like brownian motion start to be serious factors.

or you could slow your descent by being (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 4 years ago | (#33345300)

a fuzzyfuzzyfungus

Re:or you could slow your descent by being (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#33347838)

Trust an expert. Spores can easily survive descent through a planetary atmosphere. Particularly if they bear the puny meat objects on that planet no ill will, and would never infest their tasty brains, whose moral rights they have the utmost respect for.

cue Donald Sutherland (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 4 years ago | (#33347972)

wide-eyed, pointing and shrieking in a high pitched nasal tone

Re:reading stuff like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33346432)

That's actually a very nice post sir!

Re:reading stuff like this (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about 4 years ago | (#33347328)

Capital letters suck, dood. Just sayin'.

Re:reading stuff like this (1)

dominious (1077089) | about 4 years ago | (#33347870)

and then the real search, the ultimate game of discovery, will be to classify, find, and otherwise make contact with other "complexity magnifiers,"

this is how the universe works. small things bind together to form bigger things, those bigger things bind together to form even bigger things, and so on.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33344396)

In Soviet Russian space station, irradiated beer drinks you!

Re:Obligatory (2, Funny)

toastar (573882) | about 4 years ago | (#33344644)

Pfftt...

I for one welcome our Mutated Beer Creating Overlords!

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33344830)

In Soviet Russian space station, irradiated beer drinks you!

It would have been obligatory, if it would have been funny.

Pff, bacteria... (4, Informative)

wienerschnizzel (1409447) | about 4 years ago | (#33344448)

Pff, bacteria... A couple years ago we had animals survive the outer space - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tardigrade [wikipedia.org] . It was just for 10 days but nobody is sure how long they really can survive - they can enter some kind of stasis state where they don't need water for decades.

Ford Prefect... (3, Funny)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | about 4 years ago | (#33344490)

This is obviously part of why Ford had Arthur consume 3 pints of beer that fateful morning...

NOT SEVERAL DAYS, OVER A YEAR (553 days)!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33345072)

dIP ShitS

biz8Atch (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33345370)

NetBSD posts on gains market share 7ired arguments other members in

Proofreading? (3, Informative)

VirginMary (123020) | about 4 years ago | (#33345412)

Since I am not a native speaker of English, I can only speculate but "Bacteria From Beer Lasts 553 Days in Space" sounds very strange to me, shouldn't it be "Bacteria From Beer Last 553 Days in Space"? I mean "bacteria" is the plural of "bacterium" after all!

It doesn't sound wrong, but it is wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33346606)

Actually, it doesn't sound all that strange, but you're correct about it being wrong. The reason it doesn't sound wrong is because of the word "Beer." We hear "Beer lasts" and think it sounds okay, even though the sentence is saying "Bacteria ... lasts," which is wrong. So you're correct about it being wrong because you noticed that it's the bacteria, not Beer (or beer), that last 553 days in space.

That said, you should have used "because" instead of "since" in your first sentence. Use "since" only when trying to say that something occurs after something else.

Re:It doesn't sound wrong, but it is wrong. (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | about 4 years ago | (#33348350)

Actually 'since' can also be used as a conjunction, the GP's usage was correct.

Long term payoff is teraforming (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | about 4 years ago | (#33345718)

I imagine it wouldn't be THAT hard to design little capsules with bacteria aboard to colonize other worlds.

Sure a little drop of bacteria will take billions of years or longer to create an earth-like atmosphere. However the benefits of knowing that we're trying to expand will have vast benefits for certain mindsets here today.

Religious fundamentalists will dream of isolated colonies, as will white supremacists and a host of other conformists.

This Is Why Capitalizing Every Word Is A Bad Idea (1)

Hazelfield (1557317) | about 4 years ago | (#33345744)

If Slashdot had used sentence case [wikipedia.org] in headlines, we could have distinguished Beer from beer, just like that.

Certainly doen't... (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about 4 years ago | (#33345882)

last that long in my fridge!

Chug Chug Chug (1)

flahwho (1243110) | about 4 years ago | (#33346092)

No way beer would last that long If I were on that mission!

The next generation of cold brew beer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33346852)

engineered with NASA technology.

To beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33347218)

To beer. The cause of and the solution to all of life's problems.
H. Simpson.

Look How Small the Internet Is (1, Offtopic)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 4 years ago | (#33347292)

People tend to view the internet as this vast bazaar of millions of sites and voices. But images like this show just how homogeneous and centralised the majority of the net really is. Over a third of this images is taken up by perhaps 50 sites/conglomerates. That's less than the amount of channels you get on subscription television.

Faced with this image, the net neutrality debate is brought into focus. This is the image Telcos see when they think of the internet. All they care about is what happens with these large icons, and how much these icons are paying. What happens to the dotted paste in the background is of least concern to them. If their actions change the consistency, quality or effect of that paste, they won't care. Only the top 1000 or so companies actually matter in the scheme of things. This is the same image Advertisers see as well.

And in a sense, they are right if this image is to be believed. At least, if your thinking is centred on the actions of mass populations over individuals. Personally, I feel this image is getting more homogenised as time goes by and that if we look at the same image ten years from now that dotted paste will have shrunk to a thin layer surrounding perhaps less than 200 large icons. And of course, Google will take up 2/3 of it.

This is fascinating and all, but... (1)

Captain Vittles (1096015) | about 4 years ago | (#33347488)

While it's impressive that the bacteria can endure 553 days in space, the real question is whether they can also sort tiny screws in space.

Alien beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33348062)

This is an uncontroversial proof that beer was given to human by extraterrestial aliens, the ones who built the pyramids. UFO skeptics, what do you say about this ?

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