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What if microbes could drift through the vastness of space like pollen in the wind, planting the seeds of life on planets both far and wide? Is that how life started on our own planet? Is such a journey even possible?

New research from the astrobiology mission "Tanpopo", which means 'dandelion' in Japanese, suggests it very well could be.

Samples of a highly resistant bacterium genus called Deinococcus, which can be found high up in our atmosphere, has officially survived three years in the vacuum of space - withstanding microgravity, intense ultraviolet radiation and extreme temperatures whilst riding on the outside of the International Space Station.

The study adds a level of feasibility to the controversial panspermia theory, which posits that life did not originate on Earth, but arrived here from elsewhere in the Universe.

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Category: Science