The bugs were put on the exterior of the space station to see how they would cope in the hostile conditions that exist above the Earth’s atmosphere.
And when scientists inspected the microbes a year and a half later, they found many were still alive.
These survivors are now thriving in a laboratory at the Open University (OU) in Milton Keynes.
The experiment is part of a quest to find microbes that could be useful to future astronauts who venture beyond low-Earth orbit to explore the rest of the Solar System. [...]
This type of research also plays into the popular theory that micro-organisms can somehow be transported between the planets in rocks – in meteorites – to seed life where it does not yet exist.
Interestingly, the bacteria selected weren’t known extremophiles, they were selected apparently at random.