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The hunt for life on Mars continues, but say if we discover life with a decidedly Earth-like flavor? This scenario might not be too far fetched according to a new study carried out by University of Central Florida scientists who will be publishing their work in the April 2010 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Before any mission to Mars launches, NASA's scientists and engineers put every tiny component of the robot through rigorous sterilization procedures, ensuring the lander or rover is bacteria-free. This isn't because NASA has an extreme case of obsessive compulsive disorder, it's because they want to keep the Martian surface as pristine from Earth Brand™ bugs as possible.
Imagine if a struggling colony of Martian bacteria encountered some germs from Earth. Not only would this be a big let-down as far as first contact with an alien species goes (it's not as if our bacteria would make very good Earth ambassadors), it could wipe out any trace of the native life
Originally posted by Exuberant1
We should be sending as much earth life to Mars as possible.
And we will eventually send a bunch of life to Mars - regardless of what the whiners say about 'contamination'.