When plankton was discovered clinging onto the International Space Station earlier this year it led to the theory that life actually may be able to survive in the vacuum of space.
Now scientists have discovered that DNA can also survive spaceflight.
A team from the University of Zurich applied DNA molecules to the outer shell of a rocket from the TEXUS-49 mission and waited eagerly for it to return to Earth.
And they were amazed to find the DNA remained intact and alive.
"This study provides experimental evidence that the DNA's genetic information is essentially capable of surviving the extreme conditions of space and the re-entry into Earth's dense atmosphere, " says study head Professor Oliver Ullrich from the University of Zurich's Institute of Anatomy.
“We were completely surprised to find so much intact and functionally active DNA."
Sperm has also been sent into space. It swam faster, apparently.
Hissing cockroaches, spiders and carpenter bees
Long before The Muppets embarked on their porcine adventure ‘Pigs in Space’ curious astrophysicists had made a habit of merrily launching animals into the stratosphere.
Even the Montgolfier brothers used a sheep, a duck and a rooster to test out the viability of air flight before getting into the hot air balloon themselves in the 1700s.
Albert II became the first monkey in space on June 14 1949 however he died on impact after parachute failure. Monkeys Able and Baker became the first to survive spaceflight in 1959.
Since then a veritable Noah’s ark of creatures have been shot off the planet including fruit flies, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, dogs, moths, frogs, goldfish, beetles, wasps, tortoises, newts, stick insects, snails, carp, shrimp, jellyfish, rock scorpions and hissing cockroaches.
The final flight of the Columbia space shuttle in 2003 contained silkworms, garden orb spiders, carpenter bees, harvester ants, worms, Japanese killfish. Nearly all of the creepy crawlies were killed in the accident but, alarmingly, the nematode worms from one experiment were found, still alive and wriggling, in the debris. Shudder.
In July this year, Russia launched one male and four female geckos into space for an interstellar reptilian manage a cinq. Although space scientists were hoping to study the effects of microgravity on the reproductive habits of the creatures, they lost control of power to the satellite. The geckos froze to death and an investigation has been launched.
Baker the space monkey
The toys, named MAT and KMS, were decked out in custom-made space suits and launched more than 18 miles above the Earth in the four-hour expedition.
The toys, bought from Mothercare specially for the mission, endured temperatures of minus 31F (-35C) as they were strapped to seats attached to a weather balloon made by Cambridge University's Space Flight science club.
A laptop attached to a webcam captured images of the bears looking down on Earth from nearly 100, 000ft.
After completing their mission the pair parachuted back to earth and made a soft landing near Ipswich just 50 miles from their launch pad.
MAT and KMS were the first space teddies
Derek the teddy-bear was also launched by Southampton University and Tonybee School in Hampshire.
A Bonsai Tree
Tokyo artist Asuma Makoto also embraced the idea of sending life into space – launching a bonsai tree, orchids, lilies into the stratosphere suspended on a balloon.
Makoto claimed that moving shrubbery from its natural habitat transformed them into "exobiotanica" or extraterrestrial plant life.
“Flowers in the upper stratosphere are images of our unique, fortunate yet gravely responsible place in the history of space and time, ” trills the Guardian’s art blogger Jonathan Jones. Quite.
One would assume that Walter White would have got as high as humanely possible in Breaking Bad. But teenagers in the US decided differently.
In July this year they sent a bobblehead ‘White’ doll into orbit on a space balloon.
He was launched in the Goblin Valley State Park, Utah, and images show white slowly rising across the dessert before reaching extraterrestrial heights.
Walter White was airborne for approximately six hours and landed in Wyoming - more than 250 miles from where he was launched.
Unhappily the toy's head fell after plummeting into a bush.
Tvtag said it now plans on sending more bobbleheads into space.
3ft statue of an astronaut, memorial plaque, family photo
You would think one of the first rules of space would be ‘Do Not Litter.’ However social codes of hygiene appear to vanish when leaving Earth, and astronauts seem intent on leaving a trace of themselves behind.
The Apollo 15 mission left a 3ft tall sculpture of an astronaut – named ‘Fallen Astronaut’ - and a memorial plaque listing the 14 people who had died in space missions up to that point.
Belgian artist Paul Van Hoeydonck was given a set of design restrictions: that the sculpture was to be both lightweight and sturdy, capable of withstanding the temperature extremes of the Moon and it could not be identifiably male or female, nor of any identifiable ethnic group
Instead Van Hoeydonck produced a creature reminiscent of the alien from ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still.’
Paul Van Hoeydonck statue 'Fallen Astronaut'
When Duke Apollo 16 astronaut Charles Duke landed on the Moon he didn’t just leave footprints, but a photograph of his family.
He left a photograph of himself with his wife and their two sons, Thomas and Charles, sitting on a bench. It remains there until this day.
The reverse of the photo is signed by Duke's family and bears the message: 'This is the family of Astronaut Duke from Planet Earth. Landed on the Moon, April 1972.'
Some joker ever left an American flag in 1969.