This bacteria can’t be stopped! It has only been found in the most sterile rooms on Earth. Find out what it is
When you think of building spaceship parts, you think of massive, brightly lit clean rooms, engineers outfitted in full-body clean suits, and bacteria-killing chemicals being pumped in. Nothing nasty could possibly survive in that kind of environment—except for the tersicoccus phoenicis, a bacteria that is only found in spacecraft assembly clean room facilities!
The name is derived from the latin word for clean (tersi), the Greek word for berry (coccus), and the name of the spacecraft being prepared when the bacterium was first discovered (NASA's Phoenix lander). These things are hyper resistant to any of the traditional methods normally used to clean facilities and manage to survive where they shouldn't.
They are only known to exists in two places on Earth and were found in separate cleaning rooms 2,500 miles apart. In 2007 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the other in the Herschel Space Observatory at Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.
It's important to identify the bacterium before launching a spacecraft in order to rule it out as something that launched with the ship, instead of it returning with some extraterrestrial strain. It's also studied in order to improve sterilization techniques, however, as we learned from “Jurrasic Park,” life always finds a way.