In the upcoming science-fiction thriller "Life," one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time turns into a catastrophic nightmare that leaves astronauts in the International Space Station fighting for their lives.

In the film, six astronauts aboard the space station study a sample collected from Mars that could provide evidence for extraterrestrial life on the Red Planet. The crew determines that the sample contains a large, single-celled organism — the first example of life beyond Earth.

The first trailer for "Life," released last week, offers a terrifying glimpse at some of the chaos that ensues when the unsuspecting astronauts mess with the wrong extraterrestrial. [These Scary Space Movies Will Freak You Out of This World]

At first, the tiny alien seems cute and harmless as it sits inside a gloved containment box. When one of the astronauts puts his hands into the gloves and reaches in to touch the alien, its small, stringy, mushroom-like figure wiggles as if it's being tickled. But the cuteness doesn't last long.

With the astronaut's hands still in the box, the cute little alien initiates a brutal attack — first on its handler, then on the entire space station. The mysterious creature wreaks destruction on the space station's infrastructure, and the astronauts must turn on each other to fight for their own lives.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds star as a few of the unfortunate astronauts in the film. "Life" is scheduled to hit theaters on Memorial Day in 2017.

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.