Saturday, November 28, 2015   |   4,246 users online
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos  ·  Chat
Find: in

Planetary protection and life on Mars

Posted on Sunday, 30 June, 2013 | Comment icon 8 comments

Image credit: NASA

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

Safeguards designed to stop microbes from the Earth contaminating Mars are so stringent that they are harming efforts to locate signs of life there. Scientists have called for the restrictions to the relaxed due to the severe financial burdens they impose on robotic missions. The last Mars missions to actively look for signs of life on the Red Planet were the Viking landers in the 1970s.

"If Earth micro-organisms can thrive on Mars, they almost certainly already do; and if they cannot, the transfer of Earth life to Mars should be of no concern, as it would simply not survive," said researchers Alberto Fairen and Dirk Schulze-Makuch. "We cannot see how our current program of Mars exploration might pose any real threat to a possible Martian biosphere."

"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."

  View: Full article |  Source:

  Discuss: View comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Ad hoc on 30 June, 2013, 12:01
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.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Timonthy on 30 June, 2013, 13:01
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!
Comment icon #3 Posted by ancient astronaut on 30 June, 2013, 15:14
Real-life "Prime-Directive"????
Comment icon #4 Posted by deslin on 30 June, 2013, 22:12
Contamination from Earth, huh? Translation: all those AOL CDs from the 90's lol
Comment icon #5 Posted by bigjonalien on 1 July, 2013, 0:24
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?
Comment icon #6 Posted by pallidin on 1 July, 2013, 5:12
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.
Comment icon #7 Posted by nothinglizx2 on 1 July, 2013, 11:48
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... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by pallidin on 1 July, 2013, 19:32
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.

Please Login or Register to post a comment.

Other news in this category
Reusable rocket sees first successful launch
Posted 11-25-2015 | 12 comments
Blue Origin has beaten SpaceX in the race to build a rocket that can launch and then return to the Earth....
Mars may one day have its own ring system
Posted 11-25-2015 | 6 comments
Phobos, one of the two small moons of Mars, could eventually break apart and encircle the planet....
US and China work together to avoid space war
Posted 11-23-2015 | 3 comments
A new space hotline has been set up between the two countries to help prevent future misunderstandings....
Bagpipes played in space for the first time
Posted 11-15-2015 | 21 comments
Astronaut Kjell Lindgren recorded a video of himself playing the instrument as a tribute to Victor Hurst....
Distant planet has 5400-mile-per-hour winds
Posted 11-15-2015 | 9 comments
Astronomers have been able to map the weather conditions of an extrasolar planet for the first time....
Exoplanet discovery 'most important so far'
Posted 11-13-2015 | 7 comments
A newly identified extrasolar planet is so close by that it should be possible to observe its atmosphere....
US senate votes to legalize space mining
Posted 11-13-2015 | 31 comments
A new bill has been approved that will make it possible for companies to mine resources from asteroids....
Most distant object in our solar system found
Posted 11-12-2015 | 34 comments
Astronomers have discovered a dwarf planet located three times further away from the sun than Pluto....
Astronomers photograph colossal explosion
Posted 11-10-2015 | 6 comments
A distant galaxy cluster is home to the most powerful explosion to have occurred since the Big Bang....

 View: More news in this category
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.6 © 2001-2015
Privacy Policy and Disclaimer   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ