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Could Our Missions Have Contaminated Mars with Microbial Life?

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posted on Feb, 13 2011 @ 08:49 PM
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Michael Crichton would have loved this: Bacteria common to spacecraft may be able to survive the harsh environs of Mars long enough to inadvertently contaminate Mars with terrestrial life, according to new research. "If long-term microbial survival is possible on Mars, then past and future explorations of Mars may provide the microbial inoculum for seeding Mars with terrestrial life," say researchers from the University of Central Florida. "Thus, a diversity of microbial species should be studied to characterize their potential for long term survival on Mars."


Although, I personally had never thought of this before, it is quite a possibility that this has or will happen in the future. And, if bacteria can live in the vacuum of space then Mars should be no problem for it to survive.

So what do you think? What happens if we find life on Mars, bacterial life, and it is very similar to ours? Do we discredit the finding or take it as life that has existed there before our visits?

Do not get me wrong we could find fossil evidence of life, but that is a bit in the future, or maybe even possibly during a manned mission, so if fossils were found it would rule this out.

Just wanted to get a few opinions on this subject.

Any thoughts?

Pred...




posted on Feb, 13 2011 @ 09:00 PM
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Ah the circular argument of science! It would be a shame if it was a possibility, but then as we know from forensics every form of contact leaves a trace. If something like life (bacterial) is found on mars then doubters can bring up that argument and who could say one way or the other? I agree that fossillised life would be a different story.

I can't wait for the first manned mission, if they ever make one and assuming its won't be all done on a film set like the moon landings



posted on Feb, 13 2011 @ 09:02 PM
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I think they found a meteorite In Antarctica from Mars that had fossilized bacteria.... nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov...
I would guess any bacteria that could survive there is already there and we probably have in common



posted on Feb, 13 2011 @ 09:09 PM
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reply to post by ArieZ
 


Of course if life on earth was seeded from mars then we will have similar basic life forms in fossils. Just a thought.



posted on Feb, 13 2011 @ 09:11 PM
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reply to post by 3finjo
 


If seeded from Mars you think there would be no deviation in 4.5 billion or so years. You would think that there would be some sort of tell within our DNA or something that would be slightly altered.

Pred...
edit on 13-2-2011 by predator0187 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 13 2011 @ 09:13 PM
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reply to post by predator0187
 

Earths scientist have been transforming mars for DECADES , loll, you really think that those launches was just to drive around in a little car, looking for life?

That’s what they tell you all, YOU CANT even imagine the other things they have been doing, never.
And forget mars any way, its all about Venus, when they start showing Venus travels and such, and driving cars on Venus, that’s when it gets serious ,other then that, mars is just for us, its just for our eyes
’OUR EYES ONLY’
‘WHAT THEY SEE AND REPORT,IS FOR THEM,WHAT THEY SEE WHAT THEY WANT US TO SEE,IS FOR US’
THE ONLY WAY FOR ANY HUMAN RACE TO CONSIDER THEM SELVES THE ULTIMATE WINNER OVER ALL,IS TO CONTROLE THE GREATEST INVESTMENT IN ALL MAN KIND
' ANOTHER PLANET'
' ITS THE NEXT BIG THING '
'THE FIG NEWTON OF ALL'
' BIGGER THAN GOLD,OIL,WEPONS['
'BIGGER THEN GOD HIMSELF'

'I WANT TO BUY MERCURY FOR 1 DOLLAR' was a thread i did about 7 years ago,that one question led to 167,000 replies and various agents trying to controle somEthing that i thought would never lead to such an event,3 days after that, they closed the site,lol.

ps,Agents of the other side,now that you probaly have some idea of who i am,i have calmed my rhetoric,thank you.

'' VENUS FLY TRAP ' > COMING SOON ...DIRECTED BY...Immortallegend527

ps,i have my flag ready,so when i step on mercury ,i can decla
just playing..hahah
i'm just joking !







edit on 13-2-2011 by Immortalgemini527 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 13 2011 @ 09:14 PM
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oh I'm sure we intentionally took life to mars to see how it reacts or survives



posted on Feb, 13 2011 @ 09:22 PM
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Originally posted by anumohi
oh I'm sure we intentionally took life to mars to see how it reacts or survives


OOOhhhhh Thats Brutal LOL!!! it would make perfect sense but I just never thought of it... what kinda animal do you think it was? I'd guess guinnee pig



posted on Feb, 13 2011 @ 09:32 PM
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Anything we send into space is thoroughly sterilized and cleansed of all terrestrial organisms. For instance, this is how the Viking landers of the 70s were sterilized...


Assembly was done in class-100,000 clean rooms. Thousands of microbial assays were conducted during assembly, which established an average spore burden per square meter of less than 300. The total burden on the lander surface (i.e., the exposed exterior and those parts of the interior communicating directly with the exterior) was less than 300,000. Bacillus subtilis, the spore-forming microbe, was used as an indicator organism in the microbiological assays because of its resistance to heat, desiccation, and radiation.



After assembly in clean rooms and application of microbial assays, the landers were sealed in bioshields. Bioburden was further reduced through dry heating at humidity of 1.3 mg/l. A minimum temperature of 111.7°C was maintained for 30 h and much of the lander was subjected to higher temperature over a longer time period. The efficacy of the sterilization procedure was estimated indirectly on the basis of the known heat-survival characteristics of B. subtilis and was credited with reducing the lander’s bioburden by a factor of 104.


Source

35 years later, the sterilization is even more thorough, because, of course, scientists are very concerned with contaminating the planets they explore. There is very little chance of any terrestrial organisms ending up on extraterrestrial territory.



posted on Feb, 13 2011 @ 11:54 PM
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reply to post by predator0187
 


Almost for certain. We have proven, in laboratories, mines, deep-sea rifts, acidic-pools, elsewhere, that Earth life is extremely tenacious and opportunistic. What evidence do you have to say anything contrary? Mars will no doubt be teaming with indigenous lifeforms as well as recently arriving Earthlings.



posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 05:23 AM
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reply to post by anumohi
 


As far as I know this never happened, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that such a mission is planned, except for somewhere else in the solar system. Pretty sure I saw it on ATS recently; someplace like Europa or Titan I think, but don't quiote me on that yet :p

In regards to the actual question about contaminating Mars with microbes, I suppose it is possible. Some microbes can survive some pretty harsh conditions. However, the space probes are built in high tech 'clean rooms' and they try to keep all manner of contaminants out. It's possible that something slipped through their screening, but NASA would have done their best to prevent it.

If something did contaminate Mars via a spacecraft, how long would it take to spread, assuming it survived on Mars? (I really don't know) If we were to find 'earthlike' life near the site of an old spacecraft, I'd suspect contamination. If we found it hundreds of miles from any previous mission or crashed remains of failed missions, I'd suspect it was the real deal. Also, if we did contaminate Mars, any life we found there would be recognizable; it's not like it would have time to evolve in the decades since we first sent spacecraft to Mars.



posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 06:11 AM
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reply to post by predator0187
 


Interesting theory.. If we look at some other theries in the same area its possible we arent introducing new microbial life to mars, but microbes that already existed. Who is to say microbes on mars were blwon intpo space from an asteroid impact, landing on earth, and contaminating things here?

If microbes can live in the hardh enviorenment of space, then chances are we are not the culprits, since we are not the oldest form of life.



posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 11:17 AM
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reply to post by ArieZ
 


moss,fungi,bacteria,sea monkeys
that would be my guess?



posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 11:29 AM
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Originally posted by predator0187
Source




Michael Crichton would have loved this: Bacteria common to spacecraft may be able to survive the harsh environs of Mars long enough to inadvertently contaminate Mars with terrestrial life, according to new research. "If long-term microbial survival is possible on Mars, then past and future explorations of Mars may provide the microbial inoculum for seeding Mars with terrestrial life," say researchers from the University of Central Florida. "Thus, a diversity of microbial species should be studied to characterize their potential for long term survival on Mars."


Although, I personally had never thought of this before, it is quite a possibility that this has or will happen in the future. And, if bacteria can live in the vacuum of space then Mars should be no problem for it to survive.

So what do you think? What happens if we find life on Mars, bacterial life, and it is very similar to ours? Do we discredit the finding or take it as life that has existed there before our visits?

Do not get me wrong we could find fossil evidence of life, but that is a bit in the future, or maybe even possibly during a manned mission, so if fossils were found it would rule this out.

Just wanted to get a few opinions on this subject.

Any thoughts?

Pred...


Maybe we should start putting protection on our probes. But in all seriousness, I wonder if bacteria left there would mutate to something else entirely, to the point even if we tested it, we would not know whether it came from accidental contamination or not.



posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 01:31 AM
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Maybe we should start putting protection on our probes. But in all seriousness, I wonder if bacteria left there would mutate to something else entirely, to the point even if we tested it, we would not know whether it came from accidental contamination or not.


I'm not sure. How fast can bacteria mutate or evolve? My first guess was it would be obvious it was earth-based unless it had been a VERY long time, which would be true for larger organisms, but I think bacteria and viruses can change fairly fast. Hopefully someone with more knowledge in the field than I have can give a definitive answer, though. But looking at something like the AIDS virus, the reason we are having so much difficulty curing it is because it mutates so fast, but even then, it's still recognizable as AIDS.




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