The bacteria living aboard Russia's space station Mir will cause no harm after the station is sunk in the Pacific Ocean, Cosmonaut Boris Morukov, Doctor of Sciences in Medicine, said at a Thursday news conference in Moscow.
"The very fact that no cosmonaut was ill during the long stays at the station during its fourteen years in space is sufficient evidence of that," Morukov said.
In space, bacteria could pose a greater danger to materials than people, because they can destroy super-hard metal alloys, electric contacts and various polymers, he said.
The experience of battling bacteria on board Mir will be exceedingly useful for the International Space Station, Morukov said. No other country has gained such a volume of observation of fungi and bacteria in conditions of zero gravity and space, he said.
Bacteria similar to that which developed on Mir can already be observed in the 'Zarya' cargo unit of the International Space Station, which has been in space for nearly two years, Morukov said. He flew to the ISS as a crew member of the Atlantis space shuttle from September 8 to 20.
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