Science: Menace in Moon Soil?

When scientists selected some bacteria for experimental exposure to moon soil brought back by Apollo astronauts, Staphylococcus aureus, Azobacter vinelandii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa seemed to be well-qualified choices. All three species are exceptionally tough. They thrive in and around man, displaying extraordinary ability at resisting his antibiotic weapons and adapting well to other environmental challenges. Thus, microbiologists at NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center last week were still baffled by the fate of the hardy organisms. After only ten hours' exposure to lunar dust from the Sea of Tranquility, the bacteria had died.


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