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Icarus. 2006 Mar;181(1):323-325.

Microbial survival in space shuttle crash.

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Department of Biology, Texas State University-San Marcos, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, TX 78676, USA.


A slow growing, heat resistant bacterium, identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing as Microbispora sp., was recovered from the wreckage of the ill-fated space shuttle Columbia (STS-107). As this organism survived disintegration of the space craft, heat of reentry, and impact, it supports the possibility of a natural mechanism for the interplanetary spread of life by meteorites.

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