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Saru

Is Curiosity carrying Earth bacteria ?

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Glad they were careful when they spent all that time and money on this project. Isn't it wonderful to just watch the smart folk throw away years of their lives and millions of our hard earned dollars.

Just how do you determine that these fine people "threw away years of their lives"?

Oh yes, and you spent, as did all other Americans (and you have to be one to whine like that), approximately $8.50 of your hard earned money over the past 7 years to fund this exploratory wonder. That's $1.21 per year, and lets make it look really expensive:

$ 0.0033 per day...

I bet you don't get that? (It's 3/10 of a cent!)

That's 2 cents a week, 9 cents a month...$1.08 per year to fund scientific understanding?

Uh...IT'S CHEAP. PROBABLY WAY CHEAPER THAN IT OUGHTA BE!Engineers are miracle workers.

I'm still trying to figure out how millions of your hard earned dollars were spent... :innocent:

People who make such comments about the cost of space exploration drive me nuts. They don't understand. It reminds me of President Kennedy's Rice University address in 1961, where he spoke about the cost of Apollo, and the NASA budget in 1962 was mentioned. He said it was alot, and at $5.4 billion dollars, it was still less than we spend on cigarrettes and cigars in a year!

He was right (as Jack Kennedy usually was).

Think about that the next time you want to make comments about how much hard earned money it costs to explore space.

That case of beer you purchased this weekend?

It cost you three times what it cost you to fund Curiosity over the past 7 years! And it only took a minute to spend that!

Suppose you're a pack-a-day smoker?

In two days you exceeded what you spent over the past 7 years to fund MSL.

Oh wait? You drive.? You filled your tank this week? Lets say It cost you $50.00?

That in itself is FIVE TIMES what you paid over the past 7 years to fund Mars Science.

In the two or three minutes it took you to fill your tank--youspent $50.00, but you'd only spent 5/1,000,000 of a cent to fund Curiosity.

:clap:

You don't need to answer me regarding the cost of space exploration. It's a non-expense. Your statement about millions of your hard earned dollars was ridiculous. You can't address that. If you're a smoker and you've got a cigarrette in your mouth right now, you've got 90 times the amount of money filling your lungs that you spent per day on Curiosity!

But anyway, I do look forward to your answer about how people have thrown away years of their lives!

If your answer is anything like your grasp of the cost, we may have some fun here!

:td: :td:

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Hm, how about heating drills with laser bursts? If thats technically possible after all...

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Hm, how about heating drills with laser bursts? If thats technically possible after all...

I'd really prefer it if people spent their time learning about the space environment, microbial life on earth, and un-manned space exploration rather than making comments about a microbial life form from Earth actually surviving on or in an unmanned, unpressurized, non-environmentaI spacecraft, exposing itself to vacuum, solar wind, cosmic radiation, massive temperature flux, and then, a brutal entry into the Martian atmosphere!

What is it that makes people think that a bacteria from Earth , having somehow gotten in contact with the MSL spacecraft, would be alive after a trip through space of many months, or...a trip through space of a minute, if not protected from that environment???

I mean, let me pick on someone alot bigger, say, YOU, and here's what I'll do.

I'll contaminate our next craft with you, and just tape you to the exterior surface, or maybe secure you in the battery compartment.

Then, you'll be launched into orbit aboard an Atlas V, and be boosted a couple hours later on a trajectory to Mars.

You wouldn't survive into orbit. You'd have been screaming for mercy in a minute, as the G load built up to suilly levels, and within a few minutes, would be so well up through the atmosphere that you'd pass out, and die in minutes as near vacuum and freezing cold attacked your body, as well as the 4-5 G load.

That's about the truth. So, think about that poor microbe "contaminating" the Rover spacecraft!!!

How's he making it, when you couldn't even get into Earth orbit???

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No it wouldn't.

It would be anything but funny. From a scientific point of view it would be a disaster. It would mean we would never be able to know if there was native life on Mars.

If I were a consiracy theorist, I'd say that this news came just on time, so they can study without any problem the martian enviroment and be able not to share with common people their findings, because they "can't understand if it's native life or imported".

Hopefully I'm not, but it's still sad that for an overconscious engeneer the whole mission can be doomed.

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What is it that makes people think that a bacteria from Earth , having somehow gotten in contact with the MSL spacecraft, would be alive after a trip through space of many months, or...a trip through space of a minute, if not protected from that environment???

MID, when it comes to space exploration your knowledge and logic are usually faultless. I'm afraid that I suspect that this is a rare exception.

Why do people think the microbes could survive the harsh environment of space? Because experiments have shown that microbes CAN survive the harsh environment of space and for far longer than it took Curiosity to reach Mars. In an experiment carried out on the ISS bacteria survived outside the Columbus module for 553 days. Any potential bacteria on Curiosity also had the advantage of being at least partially protected by the heat-shield and back-shell that protected the rover in flight.

I'm afraid that it is not impossible that some bacteria survived the journey.

See this BBC story from August 2010 for further details.

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I'd really prefer it if people spent their time learning about the space environment, microbial life on earth, and un-manned space exploration rather than making comments about a microbial life form from Earth actually surviving on or in an unmanned, unpressurized, non-environmentaI spacecraft, exposing itself to vacuum, solar wind, cosmic radiation, massive temperature flux, and then, a brutal entry into the Martian atmosphere!

What is it that makes people think that a bacteria from Earth , having somehow gotten in contact with the MSL spacecraft, would be alive after a trip through space of many months, or...a trip through space of a minute, if not protected from that environment???

I mean, let me pick on someone alot bigger, say, YOU, and here's what I'll do.

I'll contaminate our next craft with you, and just tape you to the exterior surface, or maybe secure you in the battery compartment.

Then, you'll be launched into orbit aboard an Atlas V, and be boosted a couple hours later on a trajectory to Mars.

You wouldn't survive into orbit. You'd have been screaming for mercy in a minute, as the G load built up to suilly levels, and within a few minutes, would be so well up through the atmosphere that you'd pass out, and die in minutes as near vacuum and freezing cold attacked your body, as well as the 4-5 G load.

That's about the truth. So, think about that poor microbe "contaminating" the Rover spacecraft!!!

How's he making it, when you couldn't even get into Earth orbit???

Do go on Mon-Captatian ! After this guys dead and the cold of space quick freezes his body,then what on the 6 month trip to Mars, THen tell about the landing,or crash onto the surface.

THen the very,very,thin atmosphere of Mars takes hold of our intrepid traveler.

Go on !Its getting intresting.

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When Apollo 12 landed on the Moon, the site was only 500 feet from where Surveyor 3 landed a couple of years earlier. The astronauts brought back pieces of the Surveyor and it was found to still have live Earth bacteria on it.

So if they could survive on the Moon for a couple of years, surely Mars would be a cake-walk.

Read about it here:

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/1998/ast01sep98_1/

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Just the rover being there is 'alien' so any contamination as already happened, who are we as humans to say that some organism we know nothing of as cultured the already infecting metal robot from earth?

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I'd really prefer it if people spent their time learning about the space environment, microbial life on earth, and un-manned space exploration rather than making comments about a microbial life form from Earth actually surviving on or in an unmanned, unpressurized, non-environmentaI spacecraft, exposing itself to vacuum, solar wind, cosmic radiation, massive temperature flux, and then, a brutal entry into the Martian atmosphere!

What is it that makes people think that a bacteria from Earth , having somehow gotten in contact with the MSL spacecraft, would be alive after a trip through space of many months, or...a trip through space of a minute, if not protected from that environment???

[...]

MID, I would go with Waspie on this: during flight, instruments "sit" safely in their "pockets" behind shields plus RTG generating some heat. Furthermore, even dead bacteria can contaminate results. Anyway, just my 2¢.

Edit: spelling

Edited by bmk1245

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MID, I would go with Waspie on this: during flight, instruments "sit" safely in their "pockets" behind shields plus RTG generating some heat. Furthermore, even dead bacteria can contaminate results. Anyway, just my 2¢.

Edit: spelling

OK, and for everyone who wants to worry that Curiosity is contaminated with human bacteria that survived a trip to Mars, let's consider:

Why isn't there controversy over Rangers 1 through 9 and the 7 surveyors on the Moon compromising the lunar environment? Or the 9 Ranger impacts on the Moon?

Or..Vikings 1 and 2 and the Phoenix Mars Lander contminating Mars...or...

Cassini Huygens, contamiminating Titan???

We could've ruined the solar system by now!!!

:no:

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Maybe because they didn't have as a main goal of their missions to check if there're traces of past life on the planet.

Or maybe because they found the perfect cover-up excuse for not sharing what they'll will find, who knows. :lol:

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Maybe because they didn't have as a main goal of their missions to check if there're traces of past life on the planet.

Or maybe because they found the perfect cover-up excuse for not sharing what they'll will find, who knows. :lol:

Is it possible NASA might fake finding evidence of primitive life or ancient life on Mars to raise their profile and put America back in the forefront in space?

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When Apollo 12 landed on the Moon, the site was only 500 feet from where Surveyor 3 landed a couple of years earlier. The astronauts brought back pieces of the Surveyor and it was found to still have live Earth bacteria on it.

Actually this has now been shown to be untrue. Those bacteria were actually from contamination once the Surveyor 3 samples had arrived back on Earth, see this story: "Moon microbes" explained


OK, and for everyone who wants to worry that Curiosity is contaminated with human bacteria that survived a trip to Mars, let's consider:

Why isn't there controversy over Rangers 1 through 9 and the 7 surveyors on the Moon compromising the lunar environment? Or the 9 Ranger impacts on the Moon?

Or..Vikings 1 and 2 and the Phoenix Mars Lander contminating Mars...or...

Cassini Huygens, contamiminating Titan???

We could've ruined the solar system by now!!!

:no:

Well no one has ever seriously considered the possibility of Earth life contaminating the Moon.

As for the other missions you mention, particular care was taken to make sure that the craft was decontaminated. MSL also underwent this procedure until it's quarantine was broken. Therein lies the problem, also NASA's care in attempting not to contaminate Mars could have been undone by one decision.

Here is a Wikipedia article on Planetary protection.

It should be noted that NASA has an obligation under international law to "protect pristine celestial environments".

It should also be noted that MSL is a Category IV mission. Only missions returning samples to Earth are categorised higher.

It should be further noted that missions to the Moon are only Category II.

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Actually this has now been shown to be untrue. Those bacteria were actually from contamination once the Surveyor 3 samples had arrived back on Earth, see this story: "Moon microbes" explained

That's interesting, and thanks for pointing that out.

So what this means is that as recently as 1998, NASA was sticking to their story...and it took an external think tank to point out to them that their research was in fact sloppy and unprofessional.

Unfortunately, that's basically what it boils down to.

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That's interesting, and thanks for pointing that out.

So what this means is that as recently as 1998, NASA was sticking to their story...and it took an external think tank to point out to them that their research was in fact sloppy and unprofessional.

Unfortunately, that's basically what it boils down to.

No, that is NOT what it boils down to.

Unfortunately the link to the original article no longer works, however you seem to have overlooked two very important phrases in one sentence.

Firstly:

The claim never passed peer review

That means that the results were NEVER accepted scientifically. Not by NASA or anyone else. I have no idea where you get the date of 1998 from, a source for that would be appreciated as it doesn't appear to be in the article I linked to.

Secondly:

yet has persisted in the press -- and on the Internet -- ever since

Again no mention of it being a claim made by NASA, more of an urban myth.

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No, that is NOT what it boils down to.

Unfortunately the link to the original article no longer works, however you seem to have overlooked two very important phrases in one sentence.

Firstly:

That means that the results were NEVER accepted scientifically. Not by NASA or anyone else. I have no idea where you get the date of 1998 from, a source for that would be appreciated as it doesn't appear to be in the article I linked to.

Secondly:

Again no mention of it being a claim made by NASA, more of an urban myth.

Yes, that's what it boils down to:

Here's the link with a notation at the bottom of the page saying,

NASA Official: Ruth Netting

Send us your comments!

Last Updated: April 6, 2011

....so in fact as of 2011, NASA is sticking to their urban myth!

http://science.nasa....8/ast01sep98_1/

Edited by synchronomy

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OK, and for everyone who wants to worry that Curiosity is contaminated with human bacteria that survived a trip to Mars, let's consider:

Why isn't there controversy over Rangers 1 through 9 and the 7 surveyors on the Moon compromising the lunar environment? Or the 9 Ranger impacts on the Moon?

Or..Vikings 1 and 2 and the Phoenix Mars Lander contminating Mars...or...

Cassini Huygens, contamiminating Titan???

We could've ruined the solar system by now!!!

:no:

Waspie :tu: was quicker once again.

Anyway, just wanted to bring conclusions made by team researching simulated "trip to Mars" and "stay on Mars":

The space experiment PROTECT of the EXPOSE-E mission

provides experimental data on the responses of the most

resistant microbial representatives, for example, spores of B.

subtilis 168 and B. pumilus SAFR-032, to the conditions of a

simulated ‘‘trip to Mars’’ and an extended ‘‘stay on Mars.’’

These data are important information for the Panel on Planetary

Protection of COSPAR as well as for the major space

agencies that are constantly revisiting the protocols of planetary

protection with the aim of amending bioload measurements

by adding recent innovations in molecular

biology analysis and sterilization methods (e.g., taken from

treatment of medical devices or pharmaceuticals). Since the

specification of biological cleanliness depends on the type of

model microbe, the microbial reduction methods require

knowledge of the most resistant types of microorganisms

that may be present.

Our studies have confirmed the high resistance of spores

of two Bacillus species to the most adverse parameters encountered

during a planetary mission, such as space vacuum,

cosmic radiation, temperature fluctuations, long

storage time, and martian atmospheric pressure and com-

position.However, these studies have also confirmed the

enormous killing efficiency of solar UV radiation experienced

on an Earth-to-Mars route as well as on the surface of

Mars. Spores could only escape this harmful attack by

hiding in cracks or pits of the spacecraft surface, protecting

the inner layers in spore clumps, or shielding via the

spacecraft itself (reviewed in Nicholson et al., 2005). However,

because the landing probe is most likely encased in

an entry shield or bioshield, putative spore passengers attached

to the lander may well escape this irradiation during

the Earth-to-Mars trajectory and thus survive the journey.

Likewise, the chances of survival at the martian surface

increase with the degree of shielding against martian UV

radiation. Nevertheless, our data suggest that a substantial

fraction of spores in multilayers could survive an exposure

to martian UV irradiation for more than 3000 h.

By providing this information on the responses of the

most resistant microbial representatives to the harsh environment

of space and the martian surface, our investigation

contributes to avoidance of false positives in life-detection

experiments performed either in situ or on Mars samples

returned to Earth, in the event that some of these resistant

types of microbes escape sterilization treatment and are exported

to Mars.

(Gerda Horneck et al, (2012) Resistance of Bacterial Endospores to Outer Space for Planetary Protection Purposes—Experiment PROTECT of the EXPOSE-E Mission, 12(5): 445-456.)

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Yes, that's what it boils down to:

Here's the link with a notation at the bottom of the page saying,

NASA Official: Ruth Netting

Send us your comments!

Last Updated: April 6, 2011

....so in fact as of 2011, NASA is sticking to their urban myth!

http://science.nasa....8/ast01sep98_1/

But it did not generated any papers (at least I'm not aware of such), so yeah, it remains myth.

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This could have been how life got to earth lol

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Yes, that's what it boils down to:

Here's the link with a notation at the bottom of the page saying,

NASA Official: Ruth Netting

Send us your comments!

Last Updated: April 6, 2011

....so in fact as of 2011, NASA is sticking to their urban myth!

http://science.nasa....8/ast01sep98_1/

Thanks for providing the link, and I concede the point that NASA was perpetuating this myth (if indeed that is what it is) as late as 1998 (I'm not sure how much we can read into the "updated in 2011" comment without knowing exactly what was updated. You could argue that NASA is continuing to perpetuate the myth now as that article is still on line, but they don't remove old articles even when newer data overtakes them).

It is also worth noting that it was not until 2011 that researchers concluded that the Surveyor 3 bacteria were the result of contamination after return to Earth.

So what we have are results which were never conclusive enough to lead to peer reviewed papers, but which remained the prevailing theory until 2011. There is also some evidence supporting the original claim that these bacteria indeed were survivors of contamination from before launch.

As is so often the case in science it is not clear what the true conclusion should be and as the original camera parts are no longer kept in sterile conditions it is impossible to repeat the analysis.

Here is a Wikipedia article on the Surveyor 3 bacteria: Reports of Streptococcus mitis on the moon, which gives both sides of the argument.

In many ways this is a moot point (as well as beginning to take us a little off topic) as, what ever the origin of the bacteria on the Surveyor 3 camera, more recent research has shown that bacteria can survive in the vacuum of space, which was, I believe, the point of your post in the first place.

It is also worth noting that no science is truly wasted. These bacteria have led to a huge amount of research on whether bacteria can survive in space. That mistake may have lead to a better understanding of the possibility of life than would have occurred had they not been found.

I have to say that I have learnt something here. I was convinced that the bacteria on the moon story had been shown to be false, but reading more I now see that it is unlikely we will ever know for sure.

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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.

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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!

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