This has nothing to do with Clusters but,

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Posted by BobG ( on March 18, 2001 at 18:29:15:

there may be cause for future headaches due to fungus :-)
From the New Hampshire Gezzette, Portsmouth, NH

Morbid thrill seekers
can track the dying Mir space station
thanks to a clever NASA web page, part
of its "Liftoff" website* geared to build
enthusiasm for space exploration
amongst the impressionable younger set.

During its fifteen years in space Mir has
served as an orbital outpost for mankind,
allowing humans to learn much about
living in space. Unfortunately, it has also
served as an extraterrestrial Petri dish,
allowing ordinary Earth fungi to mutate
in an environment with 500 times their
normal dose of background radiation.

While learning how to live in the harsh
environment of space, the fungi also
appear to have picked up a taste for
delicacies like quartz glass portholes and
titanium fittings.

With 40 tons worth of Mir expected to
survive re-entry, it seems inevitable that
these mutant space fungi will soon have
an opportunity to strut their stuff back on
the old home planet.

This could get interesting, over time. In
the Malheur National Forest in Oregon,
there's a single fungal organism - it's an
Armillaria ostoyae - that over the past
2,400 years has grown to cover an area
the size of 1,665 football fields.

And that was without the benefit of
space mutation.

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