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Could New Rover's Wheels Deliver Germs To Mars?

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the war-of-the-worlds dept.

Mars 82

astroengine writes "Although the idea of "infecting" the Red Planet with our germs is nothing new, one microbiologist believes the next Mars rover may have a higher chance of becoming a microbe lifeboat. Andrew C. Schuerger, of the University of Florida and the Space Life Sciences Lab at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, believes the problem could lie in the way NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) will land on the Red Planet — wheels first. Previous Mars rovers have sat atop a lander platform for at least two Martian days (sols) before venturing into the regolith; any surviving bacteria attached to their wheels were therefore killed by the harsh UV light that bathes Mars. As the MSL's wheels will immediately make contact with the regolith straight after entry, there might be an increased chance of contaminating Mars with terrestrial germs. But still, as Schuerger admits, the risks are tiny."

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Why are the wheels... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37332346)

...more likely to contaminate the Martian surface than the lander platform? (Of course, since this is Slashdot, I didn't RTFA.)

Re:Why are the wheels... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#37337356)

...and why cant they just rub a bit of hand sanitizer on them before launch?

wont those get killed as well (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | about 3 years ago | (#37332398)

why wouldnt the germs still get killed by the UV?

Re:wont those get killed as well (1)

Squidlips (1206004) | about 3 years ago | (#37332476)

Or perchlorates? Or salts, sulfates, cold, dehrydration, solar wind/cosmic rays, etc.

Re:wont those get killed as well (2)

jhoegl (638955) | about 3 years ago | (#37332478)

Soil may protect them...

But seriously, this is just a "slow news day" post.

Re:wont those get killed as well (1)

joocemann (1273720) | about 3 years ago | (#37334266)

I don't want them to be killed. It would be nice to start life there.

Ullaaaaaaa! (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 3 years ago | (#37337120)

Except that if the Martians get exposed to germs, they might develop immunity to them. And next time they might whup our asses good and proper.

Re:Ullaaaaaaa! (1)

black soap (2201626) | about 3 years ago | (#37340048)

Or they might decide that our attempt at biological biological warfare has crossed the line, rise up out of their hiding places now, and come show us what a real invasion looks like.

Re:Ullaaaaaaa! (1)

Pope (17780) | about 3 years ago | (#37341868)

Pfft. The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one.

Re:Ullaaaaaaa! (1)

booch (4157) | about 3 years ago | (#37347866)

Obscure references FTW! [wikipedia.org]

Are we sure existing vehicles sterilized wheels? (5, Insightful)

drnb (2434720) | about 3 years ago | (#37332410)

Previous Mars rovers have sat atop a lander platform for at least two Martian days (sols) before venturing into the regolith; any surviving bacteria attached to their wheels were therefore killed by the harsh UV light that bathes Mars.

Are we sure existing vehicles sterilized their wheels? It would seem they would need to roll forward a little during the process to expose the underside of the wheels. Wouldn't there be spots receiving little reflected UV given the texturing/treading of the wheels and the platform?

Re:Are we sure existing vehicles sterilized wheels (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | about 3 years ago | (#37333432)

Not only that, but bacteria can be embedded within particles, which are then protected from the UV. It's still a long shot to also be viable in that atmosphere, at that temperature and happen to land somewhere suitable to propagate.

Still, it would be advisable for mars to get check (3, Funny)

spads (1095039) | about 3 years ago | (#37332472)

-ed for STDs.

Re:Still, it would be advisable for mars to get ch (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about 3 years ago | (#37333308)

S is for Space which is vast and dark...

Re:Still, it would be advisable for mars to get ch (1)

black soap (2201626) | about 3 years ago | (#37340064)

A night with Venus, a lifetime of Mercury. A roll on Mars, ...?

No worries. (1)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | about 3 years ago | (#37332490)

Cohagen will fix it.

Green Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37332498)

You Red Marsists crack me up.

Well, we could... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37332514)

If we're really worried about contamination, just hook up a small tactical nuclear device on a dead-man's switch to the rover and send it to Mars. Not like we'll be breaking much, but we will probably get rid of any contamination. Also, it would look cool from Earth.

Re:Well, we could... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 3 years ago | (#37337214)

it's the only way to be sure...

Re:Well, we could... (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 3 years ago | (#37338074)

Unfortunately this wasn't done from orbit. It was done from ground-side.

Martians (1)

David89 (2022710) | about 3 years ago | (#37332534)

What if the life forms we will bring will start what in millions of years we will know as martians?

Right... (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | about 3 years ago | (#37332548)

Which is why you don't test the soil for microbes right where the lander put its wheels... The entire rest of the planet is still a viable target for research. Anything that isn't buried beneath the regolith pushed by the wheels will die from UV exposure. Blown away/exposed by wind? UV exposure. This is seriously a non-threat. As long as you don't sample from wheel treads and the rover was properly sterilized it'll be fine. (not to mention any microbes you find should be tested in comparison to those of earth origin. It's highly unlikely that you'll find an identical strain of organism on Mars as found on Earth.)

Re:Right... (3, Insightful)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 3 years ago | (#37332836)

Except that the bacteria goes airborne, survives and propagates for a couple of generations beneath the soil, and many years later we discover rouge bits of DNA that look kind of like earthling DNA – and we are left wondering – is this because of cross contamination or did Mars and Earth share some type of link? [Comets, E.T.s etc.]

Re:Right... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333254)

Except that the bacteria goes airborne, survives and propagates for a couple of generations beneath the soil, and many years later we discover rouge bits of DNA that look kind of like earthling DNA – and we are left wondering – is this because of cross contamination or did Mars and Earth share some type of link? [Comets, E.T.s etc.]

I see what you did there! Red planet => Rouge bits.

Nice!

Re:Right... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334926)

If we find rouge DNA it's almost certainly native to Mars. It is the red planet after all.

Re:Right... (1)

xigxag (167441) | about 3 years ago | (#37336336)

Albedo first one to admit I thought that was funny, at first blush.

Re:Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37335020)

And then we realize we don't care because we've figured out how to get life to start on mars.

Re:Right... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37335608)

Its really unlikely that if, IF that happend, we'd be confused. Remember we can trace life on earth back ridiculously far, and most of that time was microbial only. It would be completely and totally obvious to modern microbiologists that any such organism had its origins on Earth. Simply put, even if the first microbes came here from a comet or somesuch, they have evolved to a vastly different state, a vastly more complex state than they were at first.

Any link, therefore, would be billions of years old, whereas these microbes would show very very recent adaptations from their earth-based evolution. We'd know if it if we saw it, is basically what im saying.

Re:Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37337366)

This is precisely the reason that whenever I tell someone I believe that there is no extraterrestrial life in the universe, I have to add the caveat that we may someday discover extraterrestrial life that we somehow put there.

As a side note, I find it truly remarkable how many people think this belief is crazy.

Re:Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37332842)

I think they're more worried about infecting the planet... not their samples.

Re:Right... (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 3 years ago | (#37332876)

The main issue would be if, as some people have speculated, bacteria can be carried away from Earth by ejecta, so it would be possible to find one on Mars identical to Earth. You could only confirm that if you find it and know you didn't bring it on the rover itself. It also might not survive on Mars (then again, some bacteria are pretty tough), but remains or other signs of its existence might, and that is one of the things we are looking for (not existing life, since Mars is fairly unlikely to have that, but former life, which it very well might.)

Re:Right... (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#37333058)

Still fails, because if mars and earth life are compatible (admittedly unlikely) how do you know it didn't arrive on earth from mars to begin with billions of years ago, and now we're sending it back?

Standard /. car analogy is you take your imported VW bug to Germany and drive around looking for car parts, to prove there are or are not autos in Germany. You see parts just like your VWs, laying about in a junkyard, and some /. poster assumes your VW contaminated Germany with VW parts thus we'll never be able to prove there were autos in Germany before you arrived. However, the actual scenario is your VW originally came from there decades ago, so no great surprise there's other old beetle engines laying in the scrapyard.

Re:Right... (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 3 years ago | (#37333192)

Yeah, except you wouldn't find VW parts, you would find model T parts. A billion years (give or take a few hundred million) of evolution is a really, really long time even by evolutionary standards. Unless such migration happened recently (i.e. in the order of millions of years, making it impossible for our life to have evolved from Martian bacteria), life on Mars won't look remotely similar to life on Earth, even if one came from the other. Remains might not be quite enough to tell, true.

Also, considering Martian atmospheric and orbital conditions, it would be more like finding a VW bug in the middle of the Sahara desert or an African jungle. (The Sahara example is deliberate, since conditions there are radically different than what they were in the past, which is possible for Mars as well).

If it does, is it bad? (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 3 years ago | (#37332572)

So, if microbes from earth to manage to somehow get on Mars, will anything bad even happen? I mean sure, the microbes could possibly kill any living Martian life, but have we found any real signs of current life on Mars? Hell, maybe we should start seeding Mars with bacteria. If they die, they die. If they live, they may eventually grow to the point where more life could be seeded on Mars, making a possible future human presence on the planet that much easier.

Re:If it does, is it bad? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | about 3 years ago | (#37332780)

So, if microbes from earth to manage to somehow get on Mars, will anything bad even happen? I mean sure, the microbes could possibly kill any living Martian life, but have we found any real signs of current life on Mars?

Well, that's one thing. The other is in say 30 years, we find a small colony of life, we need to be sure that it is truly native to Mars, not something we left there. Sure, a simple DNA test might confirm that it is bacteriacillus from Earth, but it might not. With those extreme conditions and the constant bombardment of UV radiation, whatever organism may mutate to a genetic pattern that matches nothing on Earth, but is close enough to make scientists scratch their heads and say, "We are pretty sure it's from Earth. It's similar to life here, but is not an exact match to anything here. We can not be certain if this is native to Mars or when it even got there."

Such an uncertain find would also taint any other life finds on Mars and would leave us with no answer to the question, "Is there life beyond Earth?". We would be forced to look elsewhere for that answer. Getting to Mars is expensive. Getting anywhere is even MORE expensive. Let's not contaminate the best lab we have.

Re:If it does, is it bad? (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#37333156)

not something we left there.

Who's this "we", the lander or meteorite ejecta?

Re:If it does, is it bad? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 3 years ago | (#37333404)

Who's this "we", the lander or meteorite ejecta?

The lander, of course. If we find life, and it's similar enough to earth life to support the idea that one seeded the other via interplanetary meteor, we want to be sure that it wasn't seeded in the 21st century by a NASA probe sent to search for signs of life. :P

Re:If it does, is it bad? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 3 years ago | (#37338338)

The other is in say 30 years, we find a small colony of life, we need to be sure that it is truly native to Mars, not something we left there

How do you intend to study those bacteria without, you know, going to Mars?

Of all the retarded navel gazing non-arguments I've ever heard, the ecomental self flagellation over contaminating dead environments with our wicked imperialist Terrarist organisms must be the saddest and most pathetic.

We're up against the Fermi paradox here. We can either own the galaxy, or die silently and alone on our tiny little globe. I know which one I choose.

Re:If it does, is it bad? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | about 3 years ago | (#37338380)

The other is in say 30 years, we find a small colony of life, we need to be sure that it is truly native to Mars, not something we left there

How do you intend to study those bacteria without, you know, going to Mars?

Of all the retarded navel gazing non-arguments I've ever heard, the ecomental self flagellation over contaminating dead environments with our wicked imperialist Terrarist organisms must be the saddest and most pathetic.

We're up against the Fermi paradox here. We can either own the galaxy, or die silently and alone on our tiny little globe. I know which one I choose.

I never said that exporting life to Mars is a bad idea. However, before we do, we need to be sure that life doesn't already exist there, or if it does exist, we need to be able to study it BEFORE we export life to Mars to get a better understanding of how life can form outside our planet.

Re:If it does, is it bad? (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 3 years ago | (#37332790)

We don't know if there is life on Mars. The evidence for it is weak and inconclusive. The Viking missions suggested there was life on Mars from some tests but didn't find any organic molecules which was really confusing. It is now thought that perchlorates in the soil could have destroyed the organics when heated. If so, there may be life on Mars that isn't that uncommon. Unfortunately, no successful Mars mission since Viking has focused on biological questions. Moreover, even if life is rarer on Mars contamination could still harm it. Finally, if there is no life on Mars but there once was life then this sort of contamination could wipe out all traces of it.

Re:If it does, is it bad? (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#37333124)

Analysis of meteors strongly indicates we've sent stuff there and they've sent stuff here and nothing has really happened either here or there.

We're not facing a 17th century scenario of old world meets new world for the first time and catastrophe mostly kills off the new world residents. Its going to be much more like north dakota football team plays south dakota football team in the 20th century and nothing terribly newsworthy happens.

Re:If it does, is it bad? (1)

black soap (2201626) | about 3 years ago | (#37340222)

More like a baseball team from america takes on a cricket squad, and there is no referee watching.

Re:If it does, is it bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336116)

So, if microbes from earth to manage to somehow get on Mars, will anything bad even happen?

Christians will claim any life from Mars came from earth and they'll still refuse to look at evidence.

somewhere, there's a joke in here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37332574)

"...the risks are tiny."

So what... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37332590)

We ought to be seeding Mars with as many extremophile organisms as possible and in large enough numbers that they can start terraforming the atmosphere. Its going to happen when we get there ourselves, so we might as well get a head start.

Re:So what... (1)

Toonol (1057698) | about 3 years ago | (#37332874)

We ought to be seeding Mars with as many extremophile organisms as possible

Yeah, that's pretty much my reaction as well, although I don't mind putting it off for a few years, to get a little better analysis of the native soil.

I'm kind of hoping we won't find life, because I want us to seed that damn planet, and too many people will object if we find something already living there.

Mars will not be terraformed (1)

drnb (2434720) | about 3 years ago | (#37332954)

We ought to be seeding Mars with as many extremophile organisms as possible and in large enough numbers that they can start terraforming the atmosphere. Its going to happen when we get there ourselves, so we might as well get a head start.

Mars will not be terraformed. Mars has lost the magnetic field needed to protect life from solar radiation and to retain an atmosphere.

Re:So what... (1)

dan828 (753380) | about 3 years ago | (#37333032)

Are there any extremophiles that produce oxygen? I can't remember any, but then again, I never studied them in depth. If not, it'd be rather pointless.

Re:So what... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333270)

Nitrogen trifluoride and Sulphur hexafluoride would be way more useful since they are very powerful greenhouse gasses. Oxygen could be derived from all the iron oxide as a byproduct of iron refining.

Re:So what... (1)

drnb (2434720) | about 3 years ago | (#37333390)

Are there any extremophiles that produce oxygen? I can't remember any, but then again, I never studied them in depth. If not, it'd be rather pointless.

Well earth once had something like that, our atmosphere did not originally contain high levels of oxygen.

Re:So what... (1)

dan828 (753380) | about 3 years ago | (#37333924)

Yeah, but it was something along the lines of blue-green algae that did the job-- organisms that aren't suited for the current martian environment. Mars has two big problems when it comes to oxygen producing earth life. It's too cold, and too dry. I think any terraforming plans thought up as of yet, call for dramatically increasing atmospheric pressure and available water before the introduction of photosynthetic earthlife would be viable. But I'm just speaking out of my ass here, not like I've studied this in any great detail.

Re:So what... (1)

drnb (2434720) | about 3 years ago | (#37333986)

I am not an expert either but I think terraformers are kind of talking out of their ... too, or perhaps confusing fun science fiction with actual science. My understanding is that Mars no longer possesses a magnetic field that can shield it from solar radiation and maintain the type of atmosphere needed.

Re:So what... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37335270)

"or perhaps confusing fun science fiction with actual science"

Space Nutters in a nut (heh) shell.

Re:So what... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333538)

Completely delusional.

OK so what exactly is the point of this? (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | about 3 years ago | (#37332594)

From the sounds of it this is insanely small percentage chance on top of insanely small percentage chance (IE the germs surviving the UV bath, and then surviving the land on the planet and somehow addapting to the completely unique environment. I mean there's only 2 real things I can think of, 1. these bacteria live, adapt and somehow live long enough to evolve and recreate a whole new existance of aliens in a few million years, or 2. it could be a problem if mankind cures all diseases in the year 2500, lives a disease free life for 400 years then runs out of space on earth, terraforms mars, and we all have the common cold from the year 2000 which is fatal after a few generations of dumbed down immune systems.

Re:OK so what exactly is the point of this? (1)

Lifyre (960576) | about 3 years ago | (#37333514)

Their biggest concern is contamination of samples on the planet and thus resulting in a false positive when looking for life forms. You start playing with incredibly tiny probabilities but if they find a bacteria on Mars it maybe difficult or impossible to prove origin, especially if there is contamination from Earth.

Re:OK so what exactly is the point of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333652)

They have already sent stuff from Earth to Mars. Sure, it was all sterilized but good luck finding a scientist that is willing to say that it completely impossible that anything survived.
If something living is found on Mars today and it isn't completely alien to Earth lifeforms then the question if it got there with the help of the Mars-rovers will arise.
(Unless it is something that couldn't have gotten there that way like a zebra or a killer whale but I assume that something like that would raise some interesting questions nontheless.)

Re:OK so what exactly is the point of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37335696)

The point of it for us? There is none besides it being a fun story. For the scientists however, they get paid specificly to NOT overlook the tiny details. I mean if you were in charge of a spcae program, wouldnt you make damn certain things werent overlooked? I would. The launch itself costs more than hiring the huge number of rseearchers necessary to do all this.

But in the end no, there isnt much active point, and its the same story we've been talking aabout for decades or more. But as you can see, it does a great job getting peoples attention. So, thats the point of it. Viewers, ratings, ad dollars, and so on. No biggie though, i like stuff like this so i dont mind one bit.

And more importantly.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37332628)

Do we care?

If we can get microbes to thrive on Mars, wouldn't that be pretty awesome too?

Could Elvis Presley be alive on Mars? (0)

Kittenman (971447) | about 3 years ago | (#37332638)

Maybe ... Could ... Possibly ....Could Michael Jackson be on the Moon? Well, yes ... but extremely unlikely. Where's a quantum physicist when you need them,... Slow news day indeed....

Re:Could Elvis Presley be alive on Mars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37332732)

Could Michael Jackson be on the Moon? Well, yes ... but extremely unlikely.

You mean almost certainly, right? Everybody knows he just stepped out for a long moonwalk. He should be back any day now.

On a related note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37332760)

New rover wheels could start an interplanetary war! But speculators agree that the chances are very "tiny."

Problem... Risk.... (1)

ecotax (303198) | about 3 years ago | (#37332868)

Why so negative?
Wouldn't it be nice to finally have a second planet we're sure supports life?

The risks are tiny.... ugh... LOL (0)

Beelzebud (1361137) | about 3 years ago | (#37332912)

Nothing like a well placed double entendre!

Re:The risks are tiny.... ugh... LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37332972)

I'm not sure that phrase means what you think it means.

Re:The risks are tiny.... ugh... LOL (0)

Toonol (1057698) | about 3 years ago | (#37333408)

A woman walks into a bar, and says to the bartender "I'd like a double entendre."

So he gave her one.

Re:The risks are tiny.... ugh... LOL (1)

Prosthetic_Lips (971097) | about 3 years ago | (#37338510)

(from wiktionary)
A phrase that has two meanings, especially where one is innocent and literal, the other risqué, bawdy, or ironic; an innuendo.

However, your point is well taken. Of course the risks are tiny, we're talking about microbes!

Strike first (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about 3 years ago | (#37333210)

The chances of anything coming from Earth are a million to one, he said.
The chances of anything coming from Earth are a million to one - but still they come!

"harsh UV light that bathes Mars"??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333288)

But I've been assured by the Space Nutters, who call our planet a "rock", that Mars is ready for colonization? They even have their pope, Elon Musk, Retard the First, getting ready to retire there? He even has a bungalow ready!

Re:"harsh UV light that bathes Mars"??? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | about 3 years ago | (#37333436)

Always anonymous, always critical, always using the phrase 'space nutter', always unaware of how futile your agenda is. It'll never catch on, never be repeated. You're not starting a meme.

Re:"harsh UV light that bathes Mars"??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334984)

And yet, I've got a passel of you drooling retards following me around... Built any good bungalows on Mars yet, delusional fruitcake?

Size doesn't matter (1)

frisket (149522) | about 3 years ago | (#37333392)

But still, as Schuerger admits, the risks are tiny.

So are the microbes...

It's gonna happen sooner or later... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 3 years ago | (#37333466)

...assuming it hasn't happened already. No point in taking extraordinary efforts to prevent the inevitable.

Bacteria on the solar wind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333572)

I remember an article mentioning that earth's upper atmosphere is shedding bacteria into space. That bacteria would be carried by the solar wind, and Mars has no protection against some of it just falling to the ground. I rate the worries as a total non issue.

Forget bacteria (bacterium?) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333746)

Just admit it!!!
 
What we all really want is Rover-Wars-On-Mars. Run the rovers to the near end of their battery life, then get them together for the Pay-for-view fight of the century!!! Place cameras around and let the rovers go at each other!
 
NASA would make more money on this then 10 liberal geek filled democratic congresses could ever hope to appropriate.

And on the 7th day... (1)

Xacid (560407) | about 3 years ago | (#37335236)

I totally see this sparking an entire evolution of lifeforms on Mars. If they're smart they'll worship the rover. ;)

Germs & Space (3, Insightful)

sudonim2 (2073156) | about 3 years ago | (#37335512)

Apollo 12 brought back parts from a Probe that landed on the Moon two years earlier. On it were found bacterial spores. When those spores were added to a growth medium, they cultured. Considering a) the Moon has no atmosphere, b) the Moon receives 4x the solar radiation as Mars, and c) the spores had been there for two years, I don't think we can actually consider any space craft sent to Mars truly sterile.

Spray with disinfectant before launch.....DUH (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 years ago | (#37338460)

several cans of Lysol all on solenoids to fire when the unit launches to disinfect and deodorize...

Come on this isn't rocket science.....

Oh wait.

Cent we launch it with a rug to stand on and wipe it's feet first?

Re:Spray with disinfectant before launch.....DUH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37339074)

or just rig a peroxide bath for the wheels before landing.

UV bath only on surface? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37339348)

I wonder how the wheels might be packed until they touch the ground. Is there no chance to bathe them before reaching the ground?

cb

Why is this a bad thing? (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | about 3 years ago | (#37341394)

Why do we care if we seed life on a dead planet? That actually sounds quite awesome. I guess it's problematic for whoever tries to eventually establish a base there, but screw those guys. They already have the deck stacked against them, might as well add horribly mutated alien flu to the list of dangers.
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