I read Apollo 12 returned with a camera fro a Moon probe which apparently carried S. mitis to the Moon, survived under those conditions, and was viable after returning to Earth.  How did NASA/CDC decide the S. mitis was not a lab contaminant.

It seems probable from recent research that the viable microbes were indeed contaminants.  The story of living microbes retrieved by the Apollo 12 astronauts from a previous Surveyor lander has been told many times and has been widely accepted as evidence for the ability of some microbes to survive space exposure.  New information, however, suggests that  these were contaminants probably introduced on the trip back to Earth from the Moon.

David Morrison

NLSI Interim Director

July 18, 2006


ELS 2019

Observe the Moon 2019

NESF 2019

ISRU 2019

Lunar Landing Workshop

SSERVI Team Science

  • The new Moon


    Recent findings are challenging much of what we thought we knew about Earth’s nearest neighbor.

Did you know?

The distance to the Moon is measured to a precision of a few centimeters by bouncing laser beams off reflectors placed there by the Apollo astronauts.

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