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MrGrimm888's avatar

Could there be lifeforms in open space? (Details )

Asked by MrGrimm888 (16809points) December 1st, 2016

Not on a planet, or asteroid, or anything. Certainly not expected to be intelligent.

Just like an intergalactic space whale, or some lifeforms that can survive, and thrive in space.

Maybe a plant?

What would it consume?

How would it propel itself in the vacuum of space?

It would obviously have to be almost indifferent to temperature, and radiation.

I’ve read before that certain fungi can survive in space.

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26 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

Yes! In a controlled experiment a crew of ISS exposed Tardigrades to the vacuum and temperature of space – and the critters survived!

“Tardigrades are notable for being the most resilient animal: they can survive extreme conditions that would be rapidly fatal to nearly all other known life forms. They can withstand temperature ranges from 1 K (−458 °F; −272 °C) (close to absolute zero) to about 420 K (300 °F; 150 °C)”

Sneki95's avatar

Viruses, maybe?

dabbler's avatar

Neil DeGrasse Tyson mentions the tardigrades in his Cosmos series (which I highly recommend!) and he also mentions that life on earth probably started and was wiped out multiple times by asteroids and volcanic activity.
When asteroids hit the Earth, rocks ejected from that blast had microbial life on them and in them. When they fell back to Earth those microbes jump-started the next wave of life.
These lifeforms are dependent on the crude protection of the rocks they were on and are not free-floating. They also had little control over their direction and destiny, hitching a ride on a rock.

ucme's avatar

There could be almost anything in space, giraffes reciting Shakespeare or little yellow robots falling in love with egg shaped droids.

LuckyGuy's avatar

i fogot to mention. Tardigrades can survive radiation exposure levels 10,000 those that kill humans.

I have a few of the little buggers in my office, living on a moss sample in a flower pot.They move so slowly it is easy to watch them with just the stereo microscope.

kritiper's avatar

I’ve often wondered if there was life in the vacuum between some people’s ears…

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Such life was discovered and analyzed in the late ‘60’s.

kritiper's avatar

I suppose it would be possible. After all, ghosts exist in cartoons.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Could you elaborate @SecondHandStoke ?

MrGrimm888's avatar

Tardigrades seem awesome. But I was more interested in an organism that originated in open space. Not simply one that could survive there.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Ok. I’ll throw out an opinion.
Life forms need energy to grow, repair damage and multiply. They can get that energy by many methods like, eating other lifeforms, adsorbing or absorbing other molecules, collecting solar radiation, collecting heat and expelling cold, chemically reacting with other molecules.
The temperature of interstellar space is near absolute zero. There are very few molecules available for reactions of any kind and there is almost no solar radiation. If a creature were to live there it would have no energy source to enable growth, repair or reproduction.
It would be totally inert. At best, it would be in a suspended animation state until it found an energy source.

Setanta's avatar

A lifeform would almost have to develop in a protected environment, by which i mean one which protects them from radiation and is sufficiently warm for energetic chemical reactions. How then, would they get into space? How would such a lifeform survive once in space? A lifeform has to eat, in the sense of take in materials for energetic processes. I ain’t buyin’ it.

cazzie's avatar

You guys really have to join my science group! I LOVE these discussions!

MrGrimm888's avatar

Well. I was watching this thing on u-tube (yes,probably a hoax) that seemed to show “something ” approach the Sun ,appear to dip into it with a “probe,” and then withdraw. I’ve seen the images several times,on several types of media.

It started me thinking. Could our Sun have some sort of parasites? Something we haven’t really observed before? Most animals on Earth have several types of parasites. As would we ,if we didn’t artificially get rid of them. Lots of parasites have parasites too.

There’s also the star NASA has been studying that is rather famous now because scientists said they couldn’t discount a alien megastructure built around the star as the origin of the odd flickering they observed . Maybe that star is covered in giant star parasites….

Just thought provoking stuff…

SecondHandStoke's avatar


An extraterrestrial “pathogen” was found on a micrometeorite collected by a satellite probe called Scoop 7 which was part of a US government project at Vandenburg Air Force Base.

The probe returned to Earth in the town of Piedmont New Mexico. A resident ignored the warning on the probe to call Vandenburg immediately and opened it. The pathogen appeared to have killed nearly all the residents of the village in minutes.

The probe’s collector was taken to the then top secret Wildfire Laboratory near Flatrock, Nevada. There the agent was learned to be larger than a virus, had a similar chemical composition to terrestrial life but without amino acids or enzymes. A crystalline structure allowed it to convert energy directly into mass and vice-versa. It was theorized that it could live on any energy source while producing no waste. The agent was capable of mutating from and to a form deadly to terrestrial life. In it’s deadly form it killed by clotting the entire blood supply nearly instantly.

In 1971 the “organism” mutated to a form that could consume synthetic rubber, compromising seals at the lab. An outbreak was narrowly averted, but only by the organism mutating again.

This pathogen is still kept and researched (some say “developed”) at Wildfire.

cazzie's avatar

There is an official job at NASA to ensure that we don’t expose new environments with our pathogens and to ensure we don’t bring any back. It’s a thing. It’s real. They exist.

MrGrimm888's avatar

SO interesting….Thanks @SecondHandStoke .
That’s kind of scary.

dabbler's avatar

Hey isn’t that the plot of Andromeda Strain?

SecondHandStoke's avatar



PM me to learn what your prize is.

Aw hell, I’ll just tell you here:

It’s an all expenses paid furry sex getaway with Fluther’s own @ragingloli

LuckyGuy's avatar

@SecondHandStoke @dabbler Having read the book a few decades ago, I recognized the plot as well. And I saw the movie.

Can I get in on the Furry Getaway? :-)

SecondHandStoke's avatar



Have you had your shots?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

We were promised space whales in no man’s sky. #screwhellogames

LuckyGuy's avatar

@SecondHandStoke Actually, Yes! I just returned from Nepal. Before I left I had injections and treatments for Hep A, Hep B, Malaria, Typhoid, and E coli. (There was something else but
i forget now. )
I’m ready!

MrGrimm888's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me . They just made a major update for No Man’s Sky. I haven’t tried it since the new update.

When I first bought it, I would play for several hours rarely blinking. My eyes burned so bad,I stopped playing it for a month…

But they’re supposed to be trying to make it closer to what it was advertised as….

Either way. It’s a step in the direction of something new and exciting.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I hope so, I just worked up to my 48 slot ship, got bored and quit. I have been waiting for an update like this but got the idea it was not coming.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^You’re supposed to be able to build your own bases or something, plus they claimed multiple other upgrades. I haven’t performed the update yet.

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