This microscopic image shows dozens of individual bacterial cells of the recently discovered species Tersicoccus phoenicis. This species has been found in only two places: clean rooms in Florida and South America where spacecraft are assembled for launch. Spacecraft clean rooms are one of the most thoroughly checked environments on Earth for what microbes are present. The monitoring provides an indication of what species might get into space aboard a spacecraft.
The image includes a scale bar showing that each of the bacterial cells is about one micrometer, or micron, across (about 0.00004 inch).