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Planetary protection and life on Mars


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#1    Saru

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 10:53 AM

Scientists have claimed that planetary protection policies are hindering the search for life on Mars.

Space.com said:

Current policies designed to safeguard Mars against biological contamination from Earth are hampering exploration of the Red Planet and should be relaxed, some scientists say.

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#2    Ad hoc

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 12:01 PM

I feel like the underlying question is: How often does material from Earth end up on Mars? Because if it's regular, then sure, sterilizing the hell out of a spacecraft when that stuff is raining down is silly. But if it's say, a couple rocks every million years... then Mars is likely to be a bacterial Galapagos island.


#3    Timonthy

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 01:01 PM

Yeah. Finding life on another planet in our solar system would not do it for me!

Unless they could prove it unequivocally was not of the same origin as us!

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#4    ancient astronaut

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 03:14 PM

Real-life "Prime-Directive"????


#5    deslin

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 10:12 PM

Contamination from Earth, huh? Translation: all those AOL CDs from the 90's lol


#6    bigjonalien

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 12:24 AM

everyone knows life on earth came from mars so why do we keep finding earth based microbes on mars after sterilization- der, u answer your own questions?


#7    pallidin

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 05:12 AM

Imagine if interplanetary probes were not "sterilized" as a function of, say, budget cuts or whatever.

So, what naturally happens is that any microbial "finding" is both privately(NASA, etc) and publicly in question as to it's authenticity.

Seems to me that it would be a very bad move, rendering such explorations pointless if contamination were allowed.


#8    nothinglizx2

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 11:48 AM

If we plan to send people there, then there will be harder to protect Mars from Earth Microbes anyway.  Since people get colds and flu's it will almost certainly end up on Mars.  The question is, if we send our people there, and it turns out there are sentient beings on Mars, will our earth born virus's which we have anti-virus's for yet they may not, incidentally harm the life there.  We have responsibility to the welfare of other sentient beings not to decide for them the course of their future.  It must be a mutual agreement to interact.  We can't just selfishly think we are the only one's out there, we must accept the possibility that due to the loss of Mars's Magnetic field along with whatever else it lost, the sentient beings went underground at the very least.


#9    pallidin

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 07:32 PM

View Postnothinglizx2, on 01 July 2013 - 11:48 AM, said:

If we plan to send people there, then there will be harder to protect Mars from Earth Microbes anyway.  Since people get colds and flu's it will almost certainly end up on Mars.  The question is, if we send our people there, and it turns out there are sentient beings on Mars, will our earth born virus's which we have anti-virus's for yet they may not, incidentally harm the life there.  We have responsibility to the welfare of other sentient beings not to decide for them the course of their future.  It must be a mutual agreement to interact.  We can't just selfishly think we are the only one's out there, we must accept the possibility that due to the loss of Mars's Magnetic field along with whatever else it lost, the sentient beings went underground at the very least.

I find that to be an acceptable premise. Of course, I'm no expert. But plausible, even if they might be extinct now.

I sure hope that future Mars explorations will involve "cave mapping" and some form of investigations.





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