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larryspinner
2004-Mar-25, 04:47 PM
Hi.

I just saw this on the CNN website. Mt first reaction was here's another "BAD" astronomy, sensationalized report. Then I began to think about whether this was a possiblity. If microbes were introduced from the early Mars missions...how would this affect current data, if at all? Here's the article's link and text is below:

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/03/25/life.mars.reut/index.html

"LONDON, England (Reuters) -- An American scientist believes that if life is finally proved to exist on Mars, its origins may be more mundane and closer to home than we think.

"I believe there is life on Mars, and it's unequivocally there, because we sent it," said Andrew Schuerger in the New Scientist Magazine Wednesday.

The University of Florida scientist said there is a good chance that microbes from Earth have made it to Mars by hitching a lift aboard space probes.

Schuerger said that of all probes sent to Mars, only the two Viking craft in 1976 were adequately heat-sterilized. Procedures used for all missions since then, including NASA's twin rovers and Europe's Beagle 2, would have left some microbes on board."

Any thoughts?

Larry

aurora
2004-Mar-25, 05:00 PM
Of course, viable microbes made it to Mars on the probes.

The question would be whether they were able to live in the Martian soil and grow. Most of the probes landed in very dry areas, so it would be likely to think that the microbes have never migrated from the probes.

Mars' land surface roughly equals the non-ocean land surface on Earth.

tlbs101
2004-Mar-25, 05:04 PM
Extreme measures were taken for every craft that has landed or crashed onto the surface of Mars, to ensure complete sterility. NASA did it, the Russians did it, and the ESA did it.

Not only did each lander (crash-er) leave the Earth as sterile as possible, they were hermetically sealed until they had left Earths atmosphere.

Any microbes picked up on the way out, by outer fairings that may have been transferred to the lander craft immediately outside the atmosphere would have had a difficult time surviving the 6 month voyage, let alone the intense heat of reentry into the Martian atmosphere.

The odds of a single microbe surviving in a spore state would be very low, and even if it did, it would still be in that spore state, because there is nothing on Mars right now to cause it to germinate.

This is my understanding of it, anyway.

larryspinner
2004-Mar-25, 05:39 PM
[quote="tlbs101"]The odds of a single microbe surviving in a spore state would be very low, and even if it did, it would still be in that spore state, because there is nothing on Mars right now to cause it to germinate./quote]

I was sort of playing devil's advocate in my original post. As you suggest, (and I agree) the possibility exists, but it appears to be highly improbable.

I did a quick search on Google and found the rest of the story at www.newscientist.com. Apparently there was some type of experiment performed where microbes were introduced into a simulated Mars environment. They also replicated the sterile conditions of typical mission spacecraft. No data posted from the experiment...just supposition. Interesting, though! :D

Gmann
2004-Mar-25, 05:51 PM
This guy sounds like he is grabbing at straws. It would be possible that some may have hitched a ride, but I doubt that any of them would survive the environment on Mars. These things evolved here, and would probably not adapt too well to sub-zero cold, thin CO2 atmosphere, lack of water, etc. I believe that they would either die enroute, or assuming they survived the ride in a cold vacuum, not thrive at all, and remain in a dormant state.

PhantomWolf
2004-Mar-26, 08:38 AM
http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/ast01sep98_1.htm


This is an interesting article about the microbes that survived for 3 years on the moon suryever and were brought bck by Apollo 16

nikpizari
2008-Nov-16, 11:28 PM
AFP: Tiny 'water bears' can survive in outer space: study
Tiny 'water bears' can survive in outer space: study. Sep 10, 2008. WASHINGTON ( AFP) — Minuscule eight-legged invertebrate creatures known as "water bears" ...

afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5ilUoGYbGqg2n2Vke4M89y77_AA5w

01101001
2008-Nov-17, 05:19 AM
Hello, nikpizari. Welcome to BAUT Forum.


AFP: Tiny 'water bears' can survive in outer space: study
Tiny 'water bears' can survive in outer space: study. Sep 10, 2008.

That sounds familiar, and with a date of September 10, I expect the miss-not-much members here might have already posted that news.

Article in topic A logical conclusion to Drake's equation? (http://www.bautforum.com/life-space/77899-logical-conclusion-drakes-equation-6.html#post1325941)
Article in topic Can Mankind Survive Long Space Flights. (http://www.bautforum.com/questions-answers/80499-can-mankind-survive-long-space-flights.html#post1352887)
Article in topic bugs in space (http://www.bautforum.com/questions-answers/80392-bugs-space.html#post1349757)

Some BAUT members speculated on tardigrades before the news:
Tardigrade (http://www.bautforum.com/life-space/46200-tardigrade.html)
Colwellia, extreme life form (http://www.bautforum.com/life-space/45649-colwellia-extreme-life-form.html)

===

And this, from 2004, is old, but it still could use a dose of skepticism, since the topic is revived:


http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/ast01sep98_1.htm
This is an interesting article about the microbes that survived for 3 years on the moon suryever and were brought bck by Apollo 16

Wikipedia: Reports of Streptococcus mitis on the moon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reports_of_Streptococcus_mitis_on_the_moon)

Among other problems:


Leonard D. Jaffe, who was Surveyor program scientist and custodian of the Surveyor 3 parts brought back from the Moon, stated in a letter to the Planetary Society that a member of his staff reported that a "breach of sterile procedure" took place at just the right time to produce a false positive result. One of the implements being used to scrape samples off the Surveyor parts was laid down on a non-sterile laboratory bench, and then was used to collect surface samples for culturing.

I wish NASA would go through their old articles and add some tempering where necessary, just to maintain internal consistency.

NASA Astrobiology Magazine: Lunar Germ Colony or Lab Anomaly? (http://www.astrobio.net/news/article1311.html)

marsbug
2008-Nov-17, 12:30 PM
Last year nasa found its clean rooms wern't as clean as it thought (http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/070919_tw_clean_bacteria.html), I think the possibility is real.

It's very unlikely anything would grow on the surface of present day mars, but I wonder if the inside of a spacecraft in a region with abundant H2O, shielded from UV and with a little extra heat from the electronics running, might provide a few micro drops of water for something tough to live on.

marsbug
2008-Nov-17, 01:08 PM
Here's a related and slightly less unlikely thought: How many spacecraft, regardless of destination, have been launched that have a 'habitable zone' where liquid water might exist and living things might reproduce? The bigelow modules spring immediately to mind, as does anything man rated, but might there be any less obvious candidates? Do any satellites use liquid water as a coolant for example? A habitable niche aboared a geostationary satellite might be a world unto itself for a long time, and might make for an interesting biology experiment.

Edit: Heat pipes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_pipe), which are used for temperature control on telicommunication satellites, might be good candidate, assuming at least some have been sent up using water as a working fluid which doesn't seem very far fetched.

Here's an example windsat (http://www.nrl.navy.mil/content.php?P=04REVIEW153), we may well have put a bunch of bacteria into space, and in habitable envirnments to!