"NASA Fears of Contaminating Mars with an 'Earth Strain'" --Overblown Say Astrobiologists
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June 27, 2013

"NASA Fears of Contaminating Mars with an 'Earth Strain'" --Overblown Say Astrobiologists

 

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"Detailed and expensive" efforts to keep Earth microorganisms off Mars are making missions to search for life on the red planet "unviable," say astrobiologists Alberto Fairén of Cornell University and Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University of the NASA Office of Planetary Protection's protocols and policies. These policies "are unnecessarily restricting Mars exploration and need to be revised."

The Office of Planetary Protection is like an interplanetary Environmental Protection Agency, with a mission "to minimize the biological contamination that may result from exploring the solar system."

As far as Mars is concerned, say Fairén and Schulze-Makuch, such efforts are probably in vain, as "Earth life has most likely already been transferred to Mars." Meteorite impacts have had 3.8 billion years to spread Earth life forms to Mars, as could several spacecraft that visited the planet without undergoing sterilization procedures now in place.

If organisms transferred to Mars over the eons failed to survive, modern organisms would likely face the same fate. On the other hand, if they did survive, say Fairén and Schulze-Makuch, "it is too late to protect Mars from terrestrial life, and we can safely relax the planetary protection policies."

The researchers say spacecraft looking for life on Mars should still be cleaned to some extent to avoid confusing possible Martian organisms with organisms brought from Earth. But sterilization for other missions, like orbiters and geology-oriented explorers, could be scaled back.

"As planetary exploration faces drastic budget cuts globally," they say, "it is critical to avoid unnecessary expenses and reroute the limited taxpayers' money to missions that can have the greatest impact on planetary exploration."

Comments

Why not just go ahead and spread microorganisms all over Mars?

Even meteors that travel through Earth`s atmosphere (and not hiting Earth) can get millions of microorganisms on them, we know that clouds contain them, after that "contaminating" all the planets in our solar system. What than? Shoot ourselfs in the head ?

Typical usa.
Money first, fk anything that gets in the way.
They didnt even manage to follow the existing basic hygine checks on the rover mission after they bypassed procedure for a last minute repair.
They have no respect for anyone or anything other than profit and pride (in what ill never know).
Heres.
hoping the aliens infect them first and do us all a favor...maybe bin laden is hiding ovr there, better nuke mars just to prove a point :p

Sorry but hat country is so deeply retarded and proud of it. Pisses me off.


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