NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Indian scientists have discovered three new species of bacteria in Earth's upper stratosphere that are resistant to ultraviolet radiation, researchers said.
The bacteria do not match any species found on Earth. They were found in samples that scientists collected when they sent a balloon into the stratosphere, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said in a statement Monday.
That layer of the Earth receives heavy doses of ultraviolet radiation, enough to kill most organisms.
In their analyses of the retrieved samples, microbiologists detected 12 bacterial and six fungal colonies.
Of them, three bacterial colonies were new species, the ISRO said.
Indian scientists named one of them Janibacter hoylei, after astrophysicist Fred Hoyle.
"While the present study does not conclusively establish the extraterrestrial origin of microorganisms, it does provide positive encouragement to continue the work in our quest to explore the origin of life," the ISRO said.
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