Pune: In a major scientific breakthrough Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) claims to have found three unknown species of bacteria about 40 kilometres above the earth's surface.
An ISRO research balloon found the three unknown species of bacteria which could mean that there is alien life in space.
Terrestrial microbes fight to survive at heights where the three species of bacteria have been discovered as ultraviolet rays kill most of them.
So are they really alien? Scientists say they could be mutant forms of earthly bacteria. Tossed into space by exploding volcanoes, they could have evolved to survive in a hostile world.
One of the new species has been named Bacillus Isronensis recognising ISRO's contribution in the experiment, while another is called Bacillus Aryabhata after India's ancient astronomer Aryabhata.
The third is called Janibacter Hoylei after astrophysicist Fred Hoyle.
A 459-kg scientific payload, which was launched from the National Balloon Facility in Hyderabad, collected air samples at heights between 20 to 41 km, and was later parachuted down and retrieved.
The samples were analysed at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad and the National Center for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune before revealing the startling results.
But it is not the first time scientists have claimed to find signs of life in space.
In 2008, the Phoenix Mission found evidence of liquid water on Mars. An astronaut aboard Nasa's Discovery Mission in 1989 reported an encounter with an alien spacecraft and in 2004, Mars explorer Spirit captured images of bigfoot, a human like form on the planet.