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Biotech Space Science

Germs Taken Into Space May Come Back Deadlier 137

Posted by Zonk
from the just-what-we-need-down-here dept.
westlake writes "Sounds like the plot for a B-movie, doesn't it? Germs go into space and come back stronger and deadlier than ever. Except, it really happened. In a medical experiment, salmonella carried about the space shuttle in the fall of 2006 proved far more lethal to lab mice than their earth-bound source. 90% dead vs. 60% dead in twenty-six days, with half the mice dying at 1/3 the oral dose. Apparently 167 genes in the space-evolved strain had changed. The likely cause: In microgravity the force of fluids passing over the cells is low, similar to conditions in the gastrointestinal tract, and the cells adapted quickly to the new environment."
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Germs Taken Into Space May Come Back Deadlier

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  • by mrvan (973822) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @08:49AM (#20741677)
    TFS states that the deadliness is bacause the germs were adapter better to the conditions inside the body, so kill lab mice faster. Outside the lab, these germs will have to pass from host to host, and presumable in between the hosts conditions will be less like microgravity. SO, they might be deadlier, but with less rate of infection. A deadlier disease with lower infection rate might actually be less of a risk: hosts die more quickly and not enough new hosts get infected.

    Also: if the new germs are really more well-adapted (ic better at multiplying and spreading), wouldn't they have evolved like that on earth? Especially since the evolutionary step is apparently small enough to be attained by a limited colony in a very limited time?
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @09:20AM (#20742013) Homepage Journal

      A deadlier disease with lower infection rate might actually be less of a risk: hosts die more quickly and not enough new hosts get infected.
      As long as it's you who gets infected and not me, I agree. ;)
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @10:25AM (#20742951)

        A deadlier disease with lower infection rate might actually be less of a risk: hosts die more quickly and not enough new hosts get infected.
        As long as it's you who gets infected and not me, I agree. ;)
        Both you and the parent are not paying attention to the true significance of this story. What would happen if bacteria was on a satellite for years and then came back to the Earth? Everybody has always assumed that it was meteors or bioweapons lab leaks that were causing zombie outbreaks, but it could just as easily be supergerms that are so highly evolved that they can control the dead!

        Isn't it entirely probable, nay likely even that an old Soviet bioweapons satellite is going to crash sometime with germs that will reanimate the dead on a large scale?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RubberDogBone (851604) *
          It's only in fiction that the results of a satellite crash or bioweapon accident or radiation produces zombies or successful mutants who look really weird but still manage to carry a mean chainsaw.

          Mutation tends to be more random than not, so you are likely to get organisms that cannot actually DO anything useful (assuming making zombies is useful) or lack any particular advantage over the original species. In fact they may be sterile or weakened.

          Irradiated flesh doesn't turn into the Hulk or glow or becom
          • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:06PM (#20744549)

            Mutation tends to be more random than not, so you are likely to get organisms that cannot actually DO anything useful (assuming making zombies is useful) or lack any particular advantage over the original species. In fact they may be sterile or weakened.

            Irradiated flesh doesn't turn into the Hulk or glow or become self-intelligent. No. It just dies
            I have several thousand volumes of books (comic books) that contradict you. Who should I believe, some Nobel prize winning biologist who has only written a couple dozen scientific papers in his life (and only a couple dealing with radiation) or Stan Lee who has published hundreds of volumes dealing with the biological and social effects of radiation?

            Suppose the germ developed a version of itself that was 100% lethal and then killed its own host before the host could spread it. Well the germ dies too, doesn't it?
            Not if it reanimates the dead! Did you miss that part? These germs are going to be so deadly that they take you past 'dead' and bring you to 'undead.' You might even say that they are undeadly! The only thing that they need to survive is a highly dense energy source that their host body could consume--maybe something like the brains of unsuspecting victims.
            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by RealGrouchy (943109)
              But, if I become undead, then becoming dead isn't as much of a bother, then, isn't it?

              - RG>
              • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

                by Anonymous Coward

                But, if I become undead, then becoming dead isn't as much of a bother, then, isn't it?
                How do you kill that which has no life? :D
                • by MrNaz (730548)
                  Slashdot readers have no lives! OMG the world is about to be taken over by brain eating Slashdotters!
                  • by pakar (813627)
                    Nope... The slashdotters are the only ones that will survive cause of our tinfoil-hats that will block zombies from sensing our brains! :)
                  • by stupid_is (716292)
                    The rest of the world have no brains, ergo we /.ers will die out...
                • by n3tcat (664243)
                  With UV rays, of course.

                  I mean look at what they do to nerds! ;)
          • by morcego (260031)

            Evolution tries many paths. Not all of them succeed. The ones that don't, die off.


            You must be new here. What about politicians, lawyers and such ? When can I expect them to die off ?

          • by zacronos (937891)
            Suppose the germ developed a version of itself that was 100% lethal and then killed its own host before the host could spread it. Well the germ dies too, doesn't it?

            No, the germs don't necessarily die. There are plenty of diseases that can be transmitted from a dead body. That's how humans get mad cow disease from eating beef, for example.

            Now, like the GP poster said, if germs actually evolved the ability to control the dead, they could animate the dead body to actively seek out new, live hosts. Th
            • Well then, obviously toxoplasma gondii is well on it's way to becoming the dominant life force on earth. All it has to do is make the jump from living hosts to dead (or undead) ones. The question is, when will it find the need to get rid of these pesky salmonella that keep killing it's hosts and who will win?
    • by s_p_oneil (795792) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @09:42AM (#20742325) Homepage
      "Also: if the new germs are really more well-adapted (ic better at multiplying and spreading), wouldn't they have evolved like that on earth? Especially since the evolutionary step is apparently small enough to be attained by a limited colony in a very limited time?"

      Not necessarily. Evolution is like a simple hill-climbing algorithm in computer programming. It blindly heads in any upward direction without any way of knowing if it will get stuck at the top of a small hill when there is a much bigger hill right next to it. It is unnatural for it to go back downhill (to weaken itself) on purpose to look for bigger hills to climb. But changes to the environment distort the landscape, in some cases turning hills into valleys and forcing life to climb back up or die out.

      So most likely the germs had their little hill turned upside down in micro-gravity and were forced to climb up to the top of a new one. Their landscape got turned upside down again when they came back down to Earth, and they ended up finding a bigger hill than the one they started on.
      • by hitmark (640295)
        interesting way of looking at it.

        and i can see now why people want to apply evolution to economics. much the same stuff is going on there.
        but unlike evolution, there are some that are willing to take a short-time weakening based on the prospects of long term victory.
        • by mr_mischief (456295) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @11:15AM (#20743793) Journal
          I think you just hit on th very idea of foresight. It's one of those things that's supposed to separate the higher mammals from things like bacteria and from natural processes like evolution, after all.

          That is, unless someone believes in sentient bacteria or a divine hand of an intelligent God/gods guiding evolution. Anything left to chance and trial will ultimately only rarely see a trade of a short-term negative for a long-term positive, because it would have to happen by chance and without conscious effort.
          • by Tablizer (95088)
            Anything left to chance and trial will ultimately only rarely see a trade of a short-term negative for a long-term positive, because it would have to happen by chance and without conscious effort.

            But evolution is kind of sneaky in that it tends to borrow something used for one purpose and re-purpose it for another. This allows it to take unexpected leaps.

      • Evolution is like a simple hill-climbing algorithm in computer programming. It blindly heads in any upward direction without any way of knowing if it will get stuck at the top of a small hill when there is a much bigger hill right next to it. It is unnatural for it to go back downhill (to weaken itself) on purpose to look for bigger hills to climb.

        Perhaps evolution should upgrade to simulated annealing [wikipedia.org] instead of simple hill climbing and greedy algorithms.
        • by s_p_oneil (795792)
          I think the problem is that it's difficult to tell which way is uphill until some of the modifications die off (which may not be immediate). Like software genetic algorithms, I think random mutations are nature's answer. Most random mutations knock organisms back down the hill, but every now and then they create a sub-species that starts climbing a different hill.
          • True, but even without mutation there will be genetic diversity within the population. If an individual animal's a point on a surface, the species is a sort of blob or patch.
            • Because the fitness landscape for any individual organism must include the effects of the other members of his species more interesting things can occur. The worst part is that either effect can occur - the main population can either deepen the well or make it more shallow. In the former case you have a strong tendency towards monoculture even on non-optimum points - think Windows. In the latter case the organism will tend to "fill up" the local minimum and eventually, population constraints being favorable
            • Lets not forget that the mutation can only work on what has previously been established. Limiting mutations in a very strict sense unlike paradigm shifts that can occur in human culture.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Evolution does not climb hills to reach a preferred state. Sometimes it backtracks downhill to find an old working state. It may climb to the other side of the hill, because that's where the sunshine is. Evolution means that a specific organism is fit to live under the current conditions.

        Organisms aquire their specific survival skills by DNA mutation or recombination, or absorbing other organisms (see mitochodrion). Evolution theory does not explain why favorable changes happen; they are just "happy acciden
    • Amen to that (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DrYak (748999) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @09:46AM (#20742393) Homepage

      Outside the lab, these germs will have to pass from host to host [...] less rate of infection. A deadlier disease with lower infection rate might actually be less of a risk: hosts die more quickly and not enough new hosts get infected.


      This is something like Rule n1 when dealing with epidemiology.
      And something that is systematically neglected when the media try to instill mass hysteria about some latest bug.

      Compare :
      - Plague : kills, but slowly, and very good at transmission - did decimate population.
      - Spanish flu : was deadly, but did spread very easily (specially at a post-war time with limited availability of medical means) - did kill quite a few people.

      With :
      - Ebola : violently deadly in an almost "B movie gore"-style, but sucks at transmission (kills to fast. The virus has almost no time to leave the host before killing it) - never became a widespread disease.
      - Avian flu : it was severe in the handful few people who caught it (although one may contest that those people were mostly in developing country and thus had limited access to medical means) BUT it's far from effecient when it comes to transmission (it's a birds' disease, damn it) one must almost live everyday with and almost sleep with chickens to catch it - hasn't been epidemic yet, and won't be, at least not until it mixes with human viruses (not very likely to happen quickly on a large scale).
      - Mad cow disease : kills slowly (brain slowly becomes a sponge) but has one of the most improbable mecanism of transmission (one must eat brain or brain derivative) - never was a widespread disease (at least outside cannibal communities).

      And same will happen with lysteria-from-outer-space : Yes, it kills mice efficiently. But basically it has changed. It has traded characteristics that where good in surviving on earth, for characteristic that are good for microgravity, and that happen to be good for the intestine too. Thus it will probably completely suck at propagating.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)
      The way I read it is that salmonella that's been raised on petrie dishes for who knows how many generations is poorly adapted to life inside the GI tract, but put it up in space for a bit, under conditions that are more like the intestine than a petrie dish and the bacteria will gain back some of it's adaptation to that environment.

      Not really surprising, and unlikely to apply for all microorganisms.

      "Space Bugs are Deadlier!" makes a better headline though.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @10:21AM (#20742879) Journal

      The researchers found 167 genes had changed in the salmonella that went to space.

      Why?

      "That's the 64 million dollar question," Nickerson said. "We do not know with 100 percent certainty what the mechanism is of space flight that's inducing these changes."

      However, they think it's a force called fluid shear.
      TFA talks about fluid shear while many other articles http://news.google.com/news?q=space+biofilm [google.com] mention that in space, the bacteria forms a biofilm.

      More importantly, it seems like every other article answers the "64 million dollar question." The answer:

      The researchers' experiment revealed that a genetic switch called "Hfq," which may control more than 160 genes in S. typhimurium, turns on in space and causes S. typhimurium to become three times more virulent than on the Earth's surface.
      I'm not really sure why this AP article is so deficient.
    • So if this is 'random mutation' in a favourable, but non-typical environment, why did the little critters turn out MORE deadly to lab mice here on earth? Seems to me that causality not proved.
  • I know... (Score:4, Funny)

    by PixelScuba (686633) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @08:51AM (#20741691)
    This was first documented in 1988 [imdb.com], but they don't want you to know about it.
  • Vonnegut (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @08:52AM (#20741699) Homepage Journal
    he said the whole point of life is to create germs tough enough to make it through space on a rock. i think he would have chuckled at this.
  • Another thing to consider: germs in space will be able to mutate repeatedly before re-introduction to the general population. This means that the defensive systems that normally adapt to handle them as the mutations arise (think: each strain of the common cold that ends up "going around" your local school/business) don't get a chance until the germ population is sizeable and has the mutated traits spread throughout.

    What's the policy for de-bugging astronauts, anyway?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by faloi (738831)
      What's the policy for de-bugging astronauts, anyway?

      Same as any other de-bug problem. Blame Microsoft and hope for a patch.

      But seriously... I know there's some post flight isolation probably accompanied by standard physicals and rehabilitation for those that underwent extended stays in space. My guess is they're relatively thorough, but if if the astronauts are harboring something that isn't detected and they don't show any symptoms it could be a "bad thing." With all the isolation and health checks
      • Are the astronauts wearing protective gear when working with bacterial experiments? I can't recall ever reading this, or seeing a photo . . .

      • The transporter references the original pattern and removes anything anomalous. Pretty standard stuff, we all know this.
    • by DrYak (748999) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @10:07AM (#20742695) Homepage

      This means that the defensive systems that normally adapt to handle them as the mutations arise (think: each strain of the common cold that ends up "going around" your local school/business) don't get a chance until the germ population is sizeable and has the mutated traits spread throughout.


      It works the other way too. The outer-space-bacteria has lived and mutated in an environment without or with very few defensive system, to which it normally needs to adapt to handle them and manage to survive and proliferate. Thus the bacteria doesn't get a chance to keep it's knowledge in surviving when it come back to earth.

      It's most likely to get pwnd by the first antibody or marcophage it encounters.

      This lysteria is an exception because the microgravity environment it was evolving in was actually *closer* to the target environment (human gut) that the places where it usually lives. And then, as the first-poster pointed out, you have a bacteria that is quick to kill lab mice, but will probably suck at transmission because it has traded away its capacity to survive in normal environment.

      People are usually marvelled at the incerdible diversity that is brought by evolution. But there's another possible point of view. Whenever some species specialize into something, it's actually losing functions : at least it is losing its polyvalence and ability to survive in diverse environment.
      One may consider the human as the pinnacle of evolution given all what we managed to achieve. Or we may consider the humans as a profoundly degenerate species, that has lost its ability to survive in most environment. that is hugely dependent on resources it can't produce anymore but must hunt. We've become so much fragile and incapable biologically, that we had to develop some intelligence to be able to circumvent those short comings. As opposed to a bacteria that can just grow and reproduce in a much wider set of environment without needing to grow a pair of arms to be able to do it.
      This pessimistic point of view may be useful sometimes to explain or predict some phenomenon :
      - like mass exctinctions
      - like why the plain simple cockroaches seem to be better at surviving than mighty dinosaurs
      - like what will probably happen to the outer-space-mutant-bugs
      - like why intelligent design proponents are wrong with their fundamental concept of "irreductible complexity". It's not complexity, it's actually very weird, funny and circonvoluted side effects of something that was initially a simplification.
      • Or we may consider the humans as a profoundly degenerate species, that has lost its ability to survive in most environment.

        That is, if we examine a single human being with the IQ of a bacterium. On the other hand, being smart enough to form complex societies and use available resources in non-obvious ways (without going through the tenuous process of evolving biologically or forming an instinctual behaviour) is a survival tactic as much as being extremely small and simple. We have low- and high-tech soci

    • by vegiVamp (518171)
      > What's the policy for de-bugging astronauts, anyway?

      Incineration tends to work reasonably well.
  • Well... (Score:1, Funny)

    by mdm-adph (1030332)

    Apparently 167 genes in the space-evolved strain had changed.
    I'm sure that once faith-based initiatives take hold in space (due to the right political appointee) and spaceships become intelligently designed this will no longer be a problem, right?
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RDW (41497) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @10:01AM (#20742587)
      As some of the more accurate reports on this finding have pointed out, the changes were in the expression levels of the genes rather than in their composition, so no need to invoke the Flying Spaghetti Monster on this occasion! Gene expression is always responding to changes in environmental conditions, so it's not at all surprising that spaceflight is going to cause some measurable effects (hopefully in genes that are functionaly relevant to the observed change in phenotype).
    • by mdm-adph (1030332)
      Ugh -- critics. Can't please 'em all. I would have thought that all the mess revolving around that last group of "anti-Big-Bang" appointees that were assigned to run NASA would've made this joke somewhat relevant!
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @09:10AM (#20741909) Homepage Journal
    The AIDS plague "patient zero" is estimated to have become infected in 1969, the year men returned from the moon.

    This plague that has killed millions of people, primarily among homosexual men, perhaps originated in a tiny canister of testosterone-pumped men trapped in a tiny metal can thousands of miles from Earth, with only each other to turn to in conditions of unprecedented stress and lonliness.

    Yep, it does sound like the plot from a B movie - by John Waters.
  • Lab mice are getting weaker!
    • by iknowcss (937215)
      I wonder if there are lab mice out there that get infected with horrible diseases, survive, escape, and get back into the mouse population to pass on their human-lab-test-impervious genes to the rest of the gene pool. Soon we'll have to find some other animal to test on ... or maybe something stronger than salmonella? :P
    • Yes, taking over the world is tiring business. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112123/ [imdb.com]
  • It does not necessarily follow that since the space-mutated salmonella has a higher mortality rate in space that it will also have a higher mortality rate on Earth. I suspect that the mechanism that allowed for the more deadly strain to thrive in space would be a disadvantage to Earth-bound strains, where the 'fluid shear' effect is higher. Thus, those more potent strains would die.

    Of course, there's only one way to find out for sure. I volunteer CmdrTaco.
    • by westlake (615356)
      It does not necessarily follow that since the space-mutated salmonella has a higher mortality rate in space that it will also have a higher mortality rate on Earth

      The earth-bound lab mice were given oral doses of the mutated salmonella - which seemed to thrive in the similar environment of the intestinal tract.

      I would personally find it worrying that anything so common and adaptable as salmonella would return so dramatically more lethal after no more than two weeks in space.

      • by raddan (519638)
        Actually, it looks like I missed the part about them having brought the strain back from space, and having given it to Earth-bound mice. This is, indeed, an interesting experiment. I wonder if there are other mutagenic factors at work here, other than zero-gravity. Cosmic radiation, for instance.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by ColdWetDog (752185)

          I wonder if there are other mutagenic factors at work here, other than zero-gravity. Cosmic radiation, for instance.

          It doesn't really make any difference. All the experiment really shows is that:

          1) Grow bacteria
          2) Alter environment
          3) Change gene expression (via mutation, removal of suppression, whatever biologic mechanism you'd propose)
          4) Write grant proposal (the 64 million dollar question - that's one hell of a grant)
          5) Profit!

          Doing it in space is even way cooler than doing it on the Internet. I

    • by trongey (21550)
      Well if you had RTFA you 'may' have noticed that the germs were carried into space, returned to Earth, then administered to Earth-bound mice. The ironic thing is that they apparently didn't do the inverse experiment so we don't know how either strain of salmonella affects mice in space.
  • Bacteria. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @09:25AM (#20742079)
    Just remember WHO this planet belongs to after all.

    I for one welcome our mutated Moneran overlords.
    • by TeknoHog (164938)

      Just remember WHO this planet belongs to after all.

      I'm confused. I though the WHO is on the other side of the battle.

  • Is this the Terrible Secret of Space?
    • by trongey (21550)

      Is this the Terrible Secret of Space?

      Umm, no. This is public information. Secrets are the part we don't know.
  • First they say that germs from space will cause us to get sick. Then they tell us that it's just the ground water http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/09/070921-meteor-peru.html [nationalgeographic.com]. Now they're telling us deadly germs from earth taken to space. Geez....
  • ..to welcome our new unaffected by gravity genetically superior overlords!
  • I have to refer back to an earlier post of mine. I'm telling you, nature sucks.

    Its the only way to be sure. [slashdot.org]
  • The likely cause: In microgravity the force of fluids passing over the cells is low, similar to conditions in the gastrointestinal tract, and the cells adapted quickly to the new environment."
    Ok.. so the cells adapted to microgravity, and likely LOST the ability to deal with full gravity scenarios..... THUS, on return- they will not be able to function in full gravity.. as their 'evolution' while in space didn't require it...

    YES- they may be deadly WHILE in space- as they adapt quicker than the mammals--
    • Nope the tests on the mice were done on earth. So that throws your theory out the window.
      • yes, yes it does.. and I'm confabulated... I can't figure why this should be... it seems contrary to what I've believed....
  • Duh, one germ can turn invisible, one germ can stretch, one germ can catch fire, and one germ is now a rock.
  • The likely cause: In microgravity the force of fluids passing over the cells is low, similar to conditions in the gastrointestinal tract, and the cells adapted quickly to the new environment."

    Enough of that blasphemous devil-talk! The reason the germs became deadlier is that they were brought closer to the Intelligent Designer in the Sky. Since He could see them more clearly up there, he was able to design them even better!

    • by Reziac (43301) *
      Hmm. Sounds like it's about time the Intelligent Designer invested in a pair of bifocals.

      Of course, since the ID can't see to design them...

  • by Fluchs (951011) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @11:33AM (#20744065)
    I kept telling people how realistic this movie was!
    http://imdb.com/title/tt0211443/ [imdb.com]
    "Evil Gets an Upgrade." Man, so ahead of its time.
  • Not so fast!

    This may be true, but remember that, from the salmonella's point of view, the object isn't to kill its host.

    The goal is to reproduce and spread. Therefore I predict this salmonella would quickly evolve back to the slightly more dormant variety, and rather quickly.

    The bacteria isn't "winning" by killing it's host faster and faster and faster. This is a disadvantageous mutation from the bacteria's point of view . One needn't worry about it "getting into the wild".
    • by westlake (615356)
      The bacteria isn't "winning" by killing it's host faster and faster and faster. This is a disadvantageous mutation from the bacteria's point of view . One needn't worry about it "getting into the wild".

      Collateral damage.

      The Black Plague killed one third of the human population of Europe. The fleas that were the primary carriers of the disease - its true hosts - were in no great danger as a species.

  • A space-mutated human virus would make an excellent area-denial weapon.
  • Evilution (Score:3, Funny)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:27PM (#20744859)

    Apparently 167 genes in the space-evolved strain had changed.

    But evolution is impossible! The Kansas school board told me so. This must be another NASA conspiracy like the fake moon landings.

    • Can anyone clarify the statement about the genes. Are they actually changing (ie, a mutation) or are they simply being selectively expressed or suppressed in response to the conditions?

      Surely the article is being sloppy with its wording, yes?
  • Germs (Score:2, Funny)

    by skeftomai (1057866)
    When I first read that, I thought it said, "Germans Taken Into Space May Come Back Deadlier."
  • Apparently 167 genes in the space-evolved strain had changed.
    Thank god it wasn't 65535, because then we would have a BIGGER problem!
  • ...the stuff Hollywood flops are made of.
  • Oh my gawd, the scientists just gave another idea to terrorists [slashdot.org] on how to kill us all!

    for the clueless or paranoid out there...yes, this is a joke
  • So, where's the underground biohazard lab with the nuke buried underneath where these things can be studied?
  • ...what would happen if we sent Arnold Schwarzenegger with the next space shuttle, and he came back a few months later!

    Oh wait, "germs", not "germans".

    • by mjwx (966435)

      ..what would happen if we sent Arnold Schwarzenegger with the next space shuttle, and he came back a few months later! Oh wait, "germs", not "germans".
      Sorry but he's an American now, I'm sure Austria thanks you.
  • After the meteor making people sick in Peru came up with zero re-animated corpses I was pretty let down, but NOW! Keep your fingers crossed. In all actuality I think this just goes to show we need to put a bit more faith in the space program. Some of these bacterias may come back more harmful, but surely that means its only a matter of time we find one to come back extremely helpful. That's a little quick to jump to, but still - me likey spacey.
  • I first read the subject and thought it said, "Germs Taken Into MySpace May Come Back Deadlier", and I thought, "Well, DUH!?! If they can survive the Stupid of that place, they can live anywhere!"
  • After 'Snakes on a plane', will we now get a sequel called 'Bacteria on a Space ship?'
  • What makes the salmonella become more "lethal" after spending time in space? Why does the fact that "in microgravity the force of fluids passing over the cells is low, similar to conditions in the gastrointestinal tract", allow the cells to adapt quickly "to the new environment"? *And why does adapting to space make it more lethal to earthly creatures?* It sounds like a weird coincidence that space truly is the sort of lethality breeding crucible that turns salmonella into the Andromeda Strain!
  • I mean, why Germans may become deadlier in space? do they have a secret base on the moon?

    oh, wait a minute...
  • http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066769/ [imdb.com] based on a book by Michael Crichton.
  • I first read the title as "Germans Taken Into Space May Come Back Deadlier". As a frenchman, I was scared.

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