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NASA And ESA Plan Mission To Bring Back Mars Rocks Is There A Danger From This?

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posted on Nov, 21 2019 @ 06:17 PM
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I just read an article that came out today, about a retrieval mission to Mars. In the year 2031, NASA and the European Space Agency, plan on bringing back rocks from Mars


In just over a decade, a small capsule shaped like a flying saucer will blaze in from space and smash into an empty Utah desert. Inside the capsule, protected by shock absorbers, will be a precious payload: about half a kilogram of rocks gathered on Mars. After years as a dream, Mars sample return (MSR) is now a $7 billion plan, devised jointly by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).

www.sciencemag.org...


While this sounds exciting, I'm a little concerned on the method of returning the samples back to Earth. According to the linked article, we'll be utilizing an entry vehicle that will "crash" in the Utah desert, with no parachutes.


After the rendezvous, NASA-built robotic mechanisms will shunt the sphere into a containment module, seal it, and sterilize it. Like a Russian nesting doll, the module will be placed within a third protective shell, and then finally a fourth vessel: a disk-shaped vehicle to withstand a fiery, parachuteless re-entry through Earth's atmosphere.

www.sciencemag.org...

Even though the samples will be stored in a titanium container, what if there's a problem with the landing and the "disk-shaped" entry vehicle is compromised? Sure, the odds are small, but I'm surprised that scientists and engineers chose this method for landing the entry vehicle. Wouldn't it be safer to have the entry vehicle land with parachutes deployed? Does this meet the "planetary protection considerations" that was discussed in the following article from 2014?


NASA will take a deliberately conservative view in handling pristine returned Martian materials, Race aid. This is both for planetary protection considerations, as noted in Outer Space Treaty requirements that are promulgated by COSPAR, and to protect the scientific integrity of the samples.

"Protocols will be updated well in advance of any sample return mission from Mars. There's already a comprehensive process of review and integration of planetary protection requirements that has been endorsed for implementation well in advance of any sample return mission," Race emphasized.

"Obviously, any Mars sample return plans will comply with the most up-to-date CDC and other requirements,"

www.space.com...

Article From 2015:

Why Scientists Have Been Scared of Space Germs for Almost 50 Years



NASA’s plan for bringing Martian samples home is a bit more advanced. The agency’s Planetary Protection Subcommittee recently laid out its proposal for preventing back contamination. It includes a requirement that any samples brought back to Earth must be either sterilized or packed in a sealed container before being brought aboard the spacecraft. That containment system must also have a redundant failsafe as a backup. They’re not playing around.



Once on Earth, the samples would, according to NASA’s proposal, go straight to a Sample Return Facility, where they would be subjected to a battery of tests for potential biohazards. Once they’re deemed clean, they will be distributed to other research facilities. NASA’s proposed Sample Return Facility would include Biosafety Level 4 labs (the same types of facilities where viruses like Ebola are studied today), as well as cleanrooms to prevent the Martian samples from picking up any stray Earth germs.

gizmodo.com...

IMO, if "they're not playing around," perhaps they should rethink the landing method that they chose for the return mission. Where's the "redundant failsafe" that the above article mentions?

In the past, we've witnessed things go wrong involving probes landing on both Mars and the Moon. These samples won't be sterilized on Mars. So, why take a chance of a landing failure that may expose Earth to a potential deadly Mars pathogen? Perhaps I'm being just a "worrywart," but maybe there are justifiable reasons for me being just a little concerned.

If this mission is successful, it will enable scientists to test for carbon isotopes, as well as for signs of past and present life on Mars.





posted on Nov, 21 2019 @ 06:33 PM
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a reply to: shawmanfromny

Remember that movie “Life”?
I ain’t talk about the Eddie Murphy movie, but the 2017 movie Life, with Ryan Reynolds.
Why brought back some Mars rocks and a life form...they called him Calvin.
It didn’t work out well for the space crew in that movie.
I say let those rocks be rocks...
“Hey...NASA...Leave them rocks alone...”



posted on Nov, 21 2019 @ 07:19 PM
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Those aren't rocks. They're insects.



posted on Nov, 21 2019 @ 07:35 PM
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I say leave the rocks where they are. They could be some boulder's children.



posted on Nov, 21 2019 @ 08:22 PM
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a reply to: shawmanfromny

Since there is no life on Mars I won't worry about it.



posted on Nov, 21 2019 @ 08:26 PM
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a reply to: shawmanfromny

Well of course there is always the remote potential for cross contamination, alien species etc BUT what I would be more worried about is a martian land owner with a pitch fork getting really angry with people stealing pieces of his property, woe betide it should be a republican martian land owner because then it will be at the very least a .50 cal pitch fork.

Seriously sorry I could not resist.


Now the more serious answer.


Yes and No, over time most of our planet's have had cross contamination in one way or another anyway, many of the objects that have hit mars and the earth in the past have caused splash ejecta from there impact's that have thrown out large and small junk's of rock into space, perhaps even with enough force for them to fly out into the solar system, some of these rock's have then landed on there neighboring planets such as rock's from mars and rocks from earth landing on mars one would assume.
en.wikipedia.org...
While you could rightly argue that this mean's that any more complex life form's and even most bacteria would have been unlikely to survive such a journey especially with the rock sometime's orbiting for millions or hundreds or millions - even billion of years around the sun before finally making planet fall after being ejected from it's original home planet by an impact event it does however mean that there are already pieces of mars on earth and likely pieces of earth on mars.
If there is life on mars and it is proven it then has three distinct possible origin's (outside of religion which I actually adhere to since I am a religious guy) and those are Panspermia the idea that life may exist throughout much of the cosmos in spore form sometime's triggering new life on planets were these dormant spores which are about the same size as average interstellar dust may fall, Cross contamination life may have hitched a ride on a rock following one of these impacts and if possible life one earth could potentially have began on mars or early venus OR another planet entirely, were this differs from panspermia is that it would be more localized and not spread through much of the cosmos (yet but it can be seen as a potential ancestor of panspermia and therefore it is splitting hairs to divide it from the main theory) AND the last is actually the least likely, separate random occurrence of life were it decided one day that it would be nice to put on a cellular membrane jacket so that it could take it's primordial soup with it and go out for a stroll.



posted on Nov, 21 2019 @ 08:30 PM
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a reply to: OccamsRazor04

Are YOU certain of that, I am certain that many here and many with far more qualification than yourself in the scientific establishment would see that as an incredibly ignorant answer, no offence meant.

You have made a decision in your answer that being that there is no life there, have you been there and dug into the martian surface, to layers were water is still fluid and were chemo-synthetic life may still exist if it ever did.

Right beneath your feet up to as deep as human's have mined we have found life, miles and miles and miles beneath the earth's surface there is still life.
www.bbc.com...
www.nationalgeographic.com...



posted on Nov, 21 2019 @ 08:32 PM
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a reply to: LABTECH767

While there may be life somewhere on Mars, it won't be on the surface where these rocks will be collected.



posted on Nov, 21 2019 @ 08:49 PM
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a reply to: OccamsRazor04

I will warrant that may be correct, the surface of mars is mostly likely sterile thank's to the planet having lost most of it's magnetosphere and atmosphere in the distant past, as such radiation that is adverse to life that would otherwise have been screened out hit's that surface and bath's those very surface rock's in conditions that would almost definitely kill most life form's as we know them but remember that tardigrade incident.
www.bbc.co.uk...
Life adapt's, if there ever was an ecological system on mars it may still have lingering traces even above ground at least at the microscopic level, remember that chicken soup experiment and the mysterious oxygen fluctuations and methane fluctuations that have been detected.

My guess and it is only an opinion and not as informed as some since I too am not there is that if there was life then in some shape or form there is still life on or in mars.
Also in my rather uninformed opinion I believe the best place to look for it today would be were liquid water may still exist on occasion, perhaps deep in the valles marineris and also perhaps in the least likely place to look of all on olympus monze itself since sulfur reducing bacteria could potentially have exploited that region in the past and though it may be long dormant they may still have a hold out in some parts of that region.

Of course I am arguing water dependent life and from an earth centric perspective.
On earth we have life that lives in extreme conditions of pressure and temperature, usually hot but life adapt's and with cross planetary ejecta it has had at least 4 billion years to potentially have been delivered through natural mean's between these planets in the past and if panspermia is correct then perhaps even longer than that.



posted on Nov, 21 2019 @ 09:38 PM
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Please. With all the radiation out there I don't see how anything could survive that if taken off the surface.

And these ads are blocking my reply window!!! Argh!



posted on Nov, 21 2019 @ 09:41 PM
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a reply to: HalWesten
I am not getting ad's over here in blight but I am using a PC and Google incognito, also I regularly clear our my cookies so avoid trackers.
It may be the site or it could be your tracking cookies try clearing them.
Or if you are on a phone I have no experience with those thing's.



posted on Nov, 21 2019 @ 09:52 PM
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If we cannot adapt to anything Mars might have in the living department, and protect against it, it is a definite deal breaker.

If humans get to Mars, they will have to come inside habitats with all sorts of Martian soil contamination on spacesuits, that they themselves will come into contact with. Also, they will most likely be working in areas where there is some water under the soil, increasing the risks of contact with microbes.

A full analysis of the intended landing area for a Mars mission is required, if we are going there.

We should probably just park it at the ISS, or put it in orbit, and then take it home with the X-37B



posted on Nov, 21 2019 @ 10:55 PM
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We have to do this.
It's as safe as we can make it. If it's compromised before landing it will burn up. If anything of concern were to "survive" reentry, then it will land in the middle of nowhere and be retrieved by biohazard laden scientists and engineers trained to handle it.

Now, a dangerous situation would be if a third party group were to seize these samples.

Imagine if a cartel or gang realized the value of the Mars samples, and the ransom they could potentially inherit for selling them...

I don't think NASA could tango with armed Zetas in the middle of the Badlands of Utah.

Should make for some interesting sci-fi stories, if nothing else.

I have a feeling as soon as we get a kilogram of sample, they'll be able to confirm some form of life though.

Mars isn't "dead" just because of atmospheric limitations. It doesn't stop cave microbes on Earth to not have the sun, and it doesn't stop microbes at the bottom of the ocean, enjoying pressures that far exceed our atmospheric norms.

I would think it was foolish to assume the low pressure on Mars or the difference in environment is enough to stop life.



posted on Nov, 21 2019 @ 11:04 PM
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There was a movie about this.

It's ok. Our bacteria can beat Martian bacteria any time.


Of course there is that other movie...



edit on 11/21/2019 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2019 @ 07:30 AM
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originally posted by: shawmanfromny

So, why take a chance of a landing failure that may expose Earth to a potential deadly Mars pathogen?


If Mars had microbes, and you believe in the idea of panspermia and/or the idea that life can remain viable locked inside a rock while it travels from one planet to the other, then those living microbes have already made the trip to Earth.



edit on 11/22/2019 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2019 @ 08:04 AM
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There is another sample return that will be happening before a Mars sample return mission.

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which is currently orbiting asteroid 101955 Bennu, will be gathering a sample of that asteroid next year (July 2020) and be returning the sample to Earth in 2023 for analysis.




edit on 11/22/2019 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2019 @ 08:12 AM
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a reply to: LABTECH767

I don't think there will be any life on Mars anywhere, but I would definitely say it is possible underground where there is water, yes. If they were taking those samples I would absolutely want far better precautions.



posted on Nov, 22 2019 @ 08:18 AM
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a reply to: shawmanfromny

With the technology we have today, why can't we just send a spacecraft up there, with actual humans in it, and gather rocks and soil and other samples and then return to Earth?

I don't know how much longer the current civilization will last but if we're ever going to compete with our extraterrestrial counterparts (as we assume they are) then we'll need to start gathering resources from other planets that we don't have here on Earth. Much like aliens take samples of our crops and salt water - and perhaps some of the ocean life.



posted on Nov, 22 2019 @ 08:35 AM
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a reply to: charlyv

What would be really nice is if they mined and found a resource that more or less reacted opposite to Earth's gravity and "floated" 6 to 12 inches from the surface. THEN we could have real hoverboards.



posted on Nov, 22 2019 @ 08:37 AM
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originally posted by: LSU2018
a reply to: shawmanfromny

With the technology we have today, why can't we just send a spacecraft up there, with actual humans in it, and gather rocks and soil and other samples and then return to Earth?

I don't know how much longer the current civilization will last but if we're ever going to compete with our extraterrestrial counterparts (as we assume they are) then we'll need to start gathering resources from other planets that we don't have here on Earth. Much like aliens take samples of our crops and salt water - and perhaps some of the ocean life.

How are you going to take off from Mars with all the weight required to provide life support to people?

Going to Mars is a one way trip right now.
edit on 22-11-2019 by OccamsRazor04 because: (no reason given)



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