- from Microbes
In 1967, around 100 microbes hitched a ride inside a TV camera on a lunar probe.
They lived through the blazing launch. Then they survived the vacuum of outer space, radiation, and freezing temperatures—with no nutrients, water, or energy source!
When astronauts brought the camera back to Earth, startled scientists discovered the microbes. They were Streptococcus mitis—a harmless bacterium found in the nose, mouth, and throat of humans.
The Strep bacteria got scientists looking for microbes in all kinds of places—geysers, nuclear reactors, and more. What they found convinced them that there was a class of extremists in the microbial world, so they nicknamed them extremophiles. They are known by the scientific name of archaea.