[meteorite-list] MIR descent threat, another

From: Kelly Webb <kelly_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:44:36 2004
Message-ID: <3AA718E1.4ACF9A72_at_bhil.com>

Dear List,

    Fungi from orbit?

Kelly Webb

March 6 9:32 AM ET

Mutant Bacteria Next Threat From Russia's Mir

 MOSCOW (Reuters) - Forget the danger of heavy-weight debris raining
from space when Russia sends the Mir orbiter to a watery grave this
month -- the real threat could be mutant fungi, a researcher said

 Yuri Karash, an expert on the Russian space program, said there was a
possibility that micro-organisms, which have spent the last 15 years
mutating in isolation aboard Mir, could present a threat if they
the fall to Earth.

 "I wouldn't overstate it ... but a realistic problem exists," Karash
told a news conference.

 Karash, who has undergone cosmonaut training and is an aerospace
said his conclusions were based on research carried out by Russia's
Institute of Medical and Biological Problems.

 Researchers have said that the fungi could be especially virulent if
mixed with earth varieties that attack metal, glass and plastic.
Western health
officials have in the past expressed concerns about micro-organisms that

could be brought back to earth after a Russian microbiologist 13 years
discovered the first of many aggressive forms of fungi inhabiting Mir.

 Russian space officials have played down the threat, but visitors to
orbiter have found numerous types of fungi behind control panels, in
air-conditioning units and on dozens of other surfaces.

 Though surprisingly destructive, they give off corrosive agents like
acetic acid and release toxins into the air.
Received on Thu 08 Mar 2001 12:30:09 AM PST

Help support this free mailing list:

Yahoo MyWeb