Moon landing astronauts reveal they possibly infected Earth with space germs

Two Apollo 11 astronauts question NASA's planetary safety procedures.

Credit: Bettmann, Getty Images.
  • Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins revealed that there were deficiencies in NASA's safety procedures following the Apollo 11 mission.
  • Moon landing astronauts were quarantined for 21 days.
  • Earth could be contaminated with lunar bacteria.
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This bacteria can withstand 1,000X as much radiation as would kill a human

Meet Deinococcus radioduranst, the world's toughest bacteria.

Flickr user EMSL
  • The bacteria is so resilient that it's been found on the walls of nuclear reactors.
  • It's unique properties have fascinated scientists, who have proposed all kinds of applications for the bacteria that range from the practical to the whimsical.
  • How does this supertough bacteria withstand radiation that would kill anything else, though?
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Evolution just got turned upside down. Sorry sponges.

Stems cells have always been pretty amazing.

Image source: Piotr Kuczek/Lotus_studio/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • New research indicates animals' oldest ancestor was not sponges' single-celled choanocyte bacteria as previously thought.
  • It appears our earliest predecessors were something like modern stem cells.
  • Our lineage just lost its founding member. The search for our true first predecessor is on!
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What makes prions the 'zombie protein'?

How can a misfolded protein be behind some of the strangest and deadliest diseases out there?

Flickr user NIAID
  • Prions don't sound so bad at first blush: they're simply proteins that have the wrong shape.
  • They may sound innocuous, but "catching" prions is always fatal, and there is no cure.
  • Curiously, the most famous case of a prion disease outbreak happened in a cannibalistic tribe in Papua New Guinea.
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Researchers announce molecular surgery — no cutting, no scarring

Doctors may be able to painlessly reshape cartilage with the technique.

Photo credit: SHAH MARAI / AFP / Getty Images
  • The application of electrical current can temporarily soften cartilage, allowing it to be manipulated before re-hardening.
  • The technique promises to eliminate cutting, scarring, pain, and recovery time.
  • So far it's been tested on just one bunny who now has one straight ear and one bent one.
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