posted on Dec, 4 2012 @ 01:08 AM
Originally posted by Fimbulvetr
So.. NASA does employ scientists to prevent contamination. They just didn't deem it necessary to TELL them that they were opening a sealed container
before launch.. because.. they just didnt have the time? They forgot? When it could be the difference of 'possibly contaminated results' and
'definitive organic compound found', youd think that this expensive project would have been careful to the last iota.
The impact could be
worse than a contaminated measurement. If Mars was lifeless, what if the contamination from Earth finds a habitat on Mars where it can grow and
If bacteria brought from Earth colonize Mars, science missions seeking martian life would be jeopardized. Worse, our bacteria could kill off any
life already there.
So even if a future mission to Mars carefully avoids contamination, and they discover life, I would have to wonder if it's possible that life may
have come from contamination resulting from a prior mission.
Regarding why they didn't follow the procedures, that is a bit of a mystery. It sounds like a conscious decision was made, but I'm not sure we have
all the details:
We shouldn’t be too concerned about this, says David Lavery, program executive for solar system exploration at NASA headquarters:
"Water or ice near the surface in Gale Crater was not a significant probability. We weighed that against the risks of not having a bit mounted in
the drill prior to launch, and the specter of not being able to drill any holes at all on Mars. [...] Of course, there is always a possibility that
Mars will surprise us."
It sounds kind of like how we have rules against speeding, and people know they aren't supposed to go above the speed
limit, but when you're running late for that appointment you are tempted to speed rather than be late. I get the impression from that quote that the
people who didn't follow procedure were well aware of the procedure.