Life is very pervasive. How high into space does earthly life exist? The Clotho Project aims to find out.
How far off the earth’s surface does life exist, and what is the nature of the organisms that live there? The Clotho Project is a collaboration between the Mavericks Foundation, civilian space explorers, and several of the worlds leading scientific, academic and research institutions. The main mission is to carry out the first general survey of life in the upper atmosphere, including the upper portions of the stratosphere and mesosphere, as well as exploring areas of particular interest such as the biology of clouds and the airborne extent of algal blooms.
Not stated is the fact that the Mavericks Foundation is a co-op of amateur rocketeers. Folks who very carefully and scientifically make huge homemade rockets and launch them to the edge of space. They do it for fun, for the challenge, and for science.
The quest for the limits to earthly life is a good one. So is furthering the catalog of life on Earth. The search for species at the edge of space aligns with the All Species Inventory, which I co-founded.
I will bet that there are far more species of life up there than any biologist would dare predict right now. Probably tens of thousands. Some of these stratospheric species probably have curious adaptions for living in near vacuum and drastic temperatures. Useful genes.