Can’t stop the music

Urine interface update

Worms in space

Whoa. Apparently a bunch of “pinhead-size” nematode worms were on board the ill-fated Columbia mission, for experimental purposes — and they actually survived the crash. NASA scientists recovered the seared, melted petri dishes containing the worms, put them under the microscope, and found a bunch of ‘em wriggling around.

Outside of being just cosmically ironic, this does have larger scientific implications. As one scientist told the Washington Post:

“This is of major importance in astrobiology, because it shows that small multicelled animals can travel from outside the atmosphere to the ground in relatively unprotected containers and survive,” said Catharine Conley, of NASA’s Ames Research Center, the project’s chief scientist. “This lends weight to the hypothesis … that species from one planet can be transferred to another.”

(Thanks to Charles Adler for pointing this one out!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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