New bacteria species discovered… in NASA’s “clean rooms”.

The Telegraph reveals that America’s space agency isn’t quite as clean as it could be. A previously unknown bacteria has been multiplying happily in *two* rooms designed to be the most germ-free places on Earth:

These rooms are kept extremely dry, are cleaned with chemicals including bleach and have negative air pressure to keep out any contaminants.

Ultraviolet light and heat treatments are also used to kill off any life on objects that go in and workers are required to wear special suits.

However, Nasa has revealed that it has discovered a hardy new species of microbe that has is able to survive in this highly inhospitable environment.

The berry-shaped bacteria, called Tersicoccus phoenicis, is so unusual that it has been classified not just as a new species but also a new genus.

Scientists said they have now found the bacteria in two separate clean rooms – one in Florida where Nasa’s Mars Phoenix Lander was constructed and at the European Space Agency’s facility in Kourou, French Guiana.

“This particular bug survives with almost no nutrients,” said Parag Vaishampayan, a microbiologist at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

One thing the article doesn’t come out and say is that this germ might just have hitched a ride to Mars….