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Is Curiosity carrying Earth bacteria ?


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#46    synchronomy

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 04:52 PM

The only real way to determine if bacteria or spores etc can survive in space or another planet for any length of time would be to conduct an experiment specifically for that purpose.
I don't think that could happen anytime soon (at least not to another celestial body) because it could create a hellish mess for science if the vehicle crashed, say on Mars, and hundreds of bacterial cultures were spread all over the surface.
I've read about spiders and worms etc spending time on the space station, but thats not exposed to space other than lack of gravity.
They wanted to see if the spider could spin a web in space, but the poor little guy just made a mess that destroyed his self-esteem.

At the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes--an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new.
This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense. -- Carl Sagan

#47    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:30 PM

View Postsynchronomy, on 17 September 2012 - 04:52 PM, said:

The only real way to determine if bacteria or spores etc can survive in space or another planet for any length of time would be to conduct an experiment specifically for that purpose.

In space has already been done. As I posted earlier bacteria has survived more than 500 days on the outside of the ISS. It follows that if bacteria can survive that long in earth orbit they can probably survive that long in the less harsh environment of the Martian surface.

I also disagree that the only way is to send bacteria to another planet. It is perfectly possible to reproduce the conditions of, for example, the Martian surface on Earth. In fact it is preferable to do so.

Experiments must be reproducible. Simply sending bacteria to another planet and seeing if they survive would be a very poor experiment as the chance of a false negative result is very high. If the bacteria survive then we have a positive result. If the bacteria die how can you be sure that it was the conditions on Mars that killed them and not some other issue? Thus a negative result would not be lead to any usable conclusions.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 17 September 2012 - 09:31 PM.

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#48    DONTEATUS

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 11:22 PM

THis is why we must look very close to what we do ,But Do we must !

This is a Work in Progress!

#49    Sundew

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 03:27 AM

This may indeed make the search for Martian life problematic, if the very tools used to search for biology as we know it are contaminated with Earth organisms. Frankly I have always wondered how you can sterilize something as complex as a space ship, even though it may have been assembled in a clean room. Life always seems to find a way to survive and move from place to place and it is so pervasive that this almost had to happen at some point. That said, I do wonder if Earth bacteria could ever survive on Mars. It would be extremely unlikely that these would be so-called extremophile bacteria, more likely they would be the everyday kind of organisms we have all around us. Most are aerobic, needing oxygen and most, if not all, need water. Yes, they might exists for a time as spores, but as growing bacterial colonies, probably not. The air on Mars is rarely above freezing and far more often is much colder that Antarctica. The planet has little or no magnetic field and is therefore subject to intense solar radiation, even though at a greater distance to the sun. There is also the thought (if I remember correctly) that the soil is quite acidic which may be fatal to our microbial life. I suppose it is possible for these spores to make it into some underground cavern or into a sub-soil situation but that assumes they will be above freezing, and make contact with liquid water or at least humidity, and find usable earth like nutrients, and it also assumes the spores are not destroyed first by the radiation.

But let's even assume that the drill was not contaminated, that we search long and hard and find that life never has nor does exist on Mars. That because of the radiation, dryness, cold, oxygen poor environment that life never did start on Mars. What then? Should we, after an exhaustive search over several missions, without finding life, should we begin terraforming? Terraforming at the most basic level, introducing carefully selected extremophile bacteria, alga and lichen. Would such a thing prove futile given the above described Martian conditions? Or if we find a dead world, should we leave it as we found it? Can we ever even explore enough of the planet to make a sure determination of the non-existence of Martian life, because it would be like trying to prove a universal negative?

It does pose some interesting questions.


#50    MID

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 04:42 PM

View PostSundew, on 21 September 2012 - 03:27 AM, said:

But let's even assume that the drill was not contaminated, that we search long and hard and find that life never has nor does exist on Mars. That because of the radiation, dryness, cold, oxygen poor environment that life never did start on Mars. What then?
What then?
Then, we understand that Mars is and always has been a lifeless world.
However, with water, evidence of its liquid state in the past...possibly more recently than you might think, and very little insight into specifics about the Mars  past (they are undoubtedly buried beneath the surface), it's unwise to even speculate about possible findings on Mars.  There are years of exploration and research ahead of us.



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Should we, after an exhaustive search over several missions, without finding life, should we begin terraforming? Terraforming at the most basic level, introducing carefully selected extremophile bacteria, alga and lichen. Would such a thing prove futile given the above described Martian conditions? Or if we find a dead world, should we leave it as we found it? Can we ever even explore enough of the planet to make a sure determination of the non-existence of Martian life, because it would be like trying to prove a universal negative?

This terraforming idea comes up here alot.
Why in the name of hell would we do such a thing to a planet?
Man-made Martian warming???? :w00t:

It will be decades and decades of study and exploration before we can make any definitive statements about Mars life, past or present.  Terraforming is the act of attempting to change a planet's climate into something that resembles earth's climate.

But read the threads here!  Lots of yahoos believe that man is destroying the climate of Earth!  They'll argue this viciously, despite the real lack of science involved in their ideas.

We're gonna go to Mars and create what we've got here??
I'm thinking a global crisis would arise from the idea.

...Oh by the way, don't tell me the reason we need to Terraform Mrs is because of that climate nonsense going on here!


#51    DONTEATUS

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 05:35 PM

YEah ! Man looks at TIme in such a different way than the Earth Looks at time ! We just need to keep from over populating ourselfs ! Wars will  and other factors will take care of the rest of our Follies ! :tu:
Remember Doom and Gloom and all that mankind can mustard !
Now Thats an Idea ! Manwich`s No need to worrie about running out of Food on this Rock We just make more of Us ! Solent Green anyone?

This is a Work in Progress!

#52    MID

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 07:15 PM

View PostDONTEATUS, on 06 October 2012 - 05:35 PM, said:

YEah ! Man looks at TIme in such a different way than the Earth Looks at time ! We just need to keep from over populating ourselfs ! Wars will  and other factors will take care of the rest of our Follies ! :tu:
Remember Doom and Gloom and all that mankind can mustard !
Now Thats an Idea ! Manwich`s No need to worrie about running out of Food on this Rock We just make more of Us ! Solent Green anyone?

But D...Soylent Green is people!


:cry:


#53    DONTEATUS

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 03:56 AM

View PostMID, on 06 October 2012 - 07:15 PM, said:

But D...Soylent Green is people!


:cry:
Yummy ! to My Tummy ! Dry agged for 40 days @ 40 deg`s Tender as an Aliens behind ! Now Thats prime rib !
You will all be crazy If I told you Im only a few miles from the White House for the next week ! I`ll be ckin out Ben`s Chili,and Halfsmoked, Some Prime  Crabs from down the road in Va. and Some of the best Brother-n-Law cooking next to my B.B.Q ! See y`az! And Mid ! Dont worrie ! Im not going to let the D.C. secret out about the Little Greys they have working under the White House ! LoL! :tu: :alien: :no:

This is a Work in Progress!

#54    skookum

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 04:53 PM

Even if it did get there and survive, would we be able to detect it with the equipment there at the moment?

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#55    MID

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 01:08 AM

View PostDONTEATUS, on 08 October 2012 - 03:56 AM, said:

Yummy ! to My Tummy ! Dry agged for 40 days @ 40 deg`s Tender as an Aliens behind ! Now Thats prime rib !
You will all be crazy If I told you Im only a few miles from the White House for the next week ! I`ll be ckin out Ben`s Chili,and Halfsmoked, Some Prime  Crabs from down the road in Va. and Some of the best Brother-n-Law cooking next to my B.B.Q ! See y`az! And Mid ! Dont worrie ! Im not going to let the D.C. secret out about the Little Greys they have working under the White House ! LoL! :tu: :alien: :no:

Roger that, D!
Copy and understand.

M


#56    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 01:29 PM

View Postskookum, on 10 October 2012 - 04:53 PM, said:

Even if it did get there and survive, would we be able to detect it with the equipment there at the moment?
The bigger problem is not whether we could detect it now. If it does spread then how will we know if there was indigenous life on Mars in future samples returned to Earth?

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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