LDEF 'Growth' mystery
Electron microscope image supplied by
The Shimizu Institute.
Click the picture to view the full size JPG image of the LDEF 'growth'.
The caption that went with the above image read as follows.
The black & white image of the barnacle-looking structures (above) is an electron microscope photograph of the "growth" NASA scientists discovered last spring on the exterior of the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF).
Marooned for six years in orbit around the Earth, LDEF was finally rescued and shipped to Marshall Spaceflight Centre in Alabama for study.
While investigating the exterior of the spacecraft, researchers came across a three millimetre by five centimetre patch of hollow tube like structures.
Translucent, non-metallic, almost life-like. Was it some kind of space fungus or cosmic barnacle? No-one can say.
After much analysis, the researchers are still unable to identify the growth's exact composition.
They can only conclude that there's a "ninety percent chance it is not an Earth-grown fungus".
Data retrieved by Kevin White Forbes. VK3UKF.
Originally obtained from a science magazine lift-out.