email@example.com (Tim Redigolo)
Tiny aliens are hopping from planet to planet and could already be here on Earth.
Scientists claim microscopic extraterrestrials can bunch up into little groups to survive treacherous journeys across the universe, just like in the 1982 movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
They overcome the harsh environment of space by grouping in “colonies” thinner than a piece of paper.
The findings back up the “panspermia” theory – an idea that organisms migrate between planets, moons and solar systems.
Microbes on the surface die and form a protective shield, making the lifeforms resistant to extreme cold and radiation.
Dr Akihiko Yamagishi, chief investigator of Japan Experimental Module on the International Space Station, said: “The origin of life on Earth is the biggest mystery of human beings.
“Scientists can have totally different points of view on the matter.
“Some think life is very rare and happened only once in the universe, while others think life can happen on every suitable planet.
“If panspermia is possible, life must exist much more often than we thought.”
The boffins based their theory on an experiment that saw the bacteria Deinococcus placed outside the ISS.
After noticing the organisms forming colonies, the scientists estimated a pellet thicker than 0.5mm could live for up to 45 years in space and eight years if 1mm thick.
Dr Yamagishi added: “The results suggest radio-resistant Deinococcus could survive during the travel from Earth to Mars and vice versa – which is several months or years in the shortest orbit.”