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The Threat From Life on Mars

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the mars-need-women dept.

Science 469

sweetshot97 writes "According to the UK site, Times Online; future trips to Mars that will have probes return with samples of the martian surface may contain deadly microbes of course, foreign to our world. The threat may be incurable bacterial infections we have no cure for. What's funny is that we may have even infected Mars with our own bacteria when we sent several probes there. "

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i have to say it.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001000)

First pox! :)

Re:i have to say it.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001068)

its so funny, i have to laugh

Rumsfeldian poetry (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001001)

The threat may be incurable bacterial infections we have no cure for.

No cure for the incurable? (1)

powerful_in_il (811724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001002)

How horribly horrible.

- From the Department of Redundancy Department

Well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001003)

I for one welcome our incurable bacteria that we have no cure for. Or something.

Did I mess that up?

Odds Are Against It (5, Interesting)

kaellinn18 (707759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001004)

Odds are that any lifeform that is adapted to live on Mars will pretty much die immediately on earth, unless contained in an area that has a Mars-like climate. I wouldn't be too worried.

Re:Odds Are Against It (2, Insightful)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001053)

"The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one," he said.

Re:Odds Are Against It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001136)

ooooooooooo-la

Re:Odds Are Against It (5, Funny)

Hyecee (809818) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001141)

Sounds like any number of quotes from the Big Book of Famous Last Words.

Heh heh heh.

Re:Odds Are Against It (1)

DirtyHarry (162125) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001056)

Dont expect little green men, but who knows if there will come little little tiny microbes?
Some of these even survive in the deadliest environments, why not on earth?

Re:Odds Are Against It (1)

bairy (755347) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001092)

How do you define "deadly". We couldn't survive on Mercury cos it's too hot, by the same logic, stuff that's used to Mercury may not survive on Earth because it's a lot colder.

Re:Odds Are Against It (4, Informative)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001079)

Not necessarily. Many bacteria (e.g. anthrax) can survive almost indefinitely in a cysted state, then revive under the right conditions (moisture, warmth). Likewise, the cysted causative agent for BSE ("mad cow disease") can survive cooking heat, and hence remain viable to infect when ingested.

If anything microbial survives on Mars, it would most likely thrive in out environment.

Re:Odds Are Against It (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001179)

Mad cow is caused by a "prion" (i.e. a folded protein). Not by bacteria or virii.

Re:Odds Are Against It (3, Insightful)

Dinosaur Neil (86204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001196)

...it would most likely thrive in out environment.

Maybe, maybe not. Terrestrial microbial life-forms have had millenia of evolution and competition to fill every available niche in their available environment; how will Martian microbes compete, let alone thrive? How many extremophiles have been dredged up from their remote terrestrial locations and then caused terrible plagues?

Caution is appropriate here, but the article seems to be hinting at a "let's just stay home and lock the door and hope no one bothers us" attitude that would have kept mankind safely ensconced in the Olduvai Gorge.

Earth, Mars not biologically isolated from each ot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001112)

If there is life on Mars, it may well have come from Earth - long before the failed Soviet landers.

If there is life on Mars, it has already reached here via meteorites.

And looky -- we are still alive!

Oh, and there are over-lapping environments all over the place: below ground, hot springs, acidic rivers, etc.

Re:Odds Are Against It (2, Informative)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001126)

It's kind of like those bacteria and tube worms [noaa.gov] thriving on the ocean floor in sulfuric acid at 300C. Drop their temperature below 150C, and they die.

*If* there were anything living on Mars in the first place, it would die long before we ever knew it got here.

But hey, anything to keep us safe from the Martian threat. Somebody's been watching too many bad scifi movies [ram.org] .

Viking Landers were "boiled", Pathfinder was not (5, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001127)

The first Mars landers were autoclaved to prevent contamination from mars. This made for some rather remarkable compromises in the lander design in order for it to survive baking.

For example, because there were no heat resistant, space worthy (radiation resistant) memories back then an advance form of magnetic core memory memory was used. So this thing had VERY little memory. All data had to be stored on board for later transmission. The storage was done on magnetic tape. But of course the "modern" plastic magnetic tape could not be autoclaved. So they went back to the original magnetic tape: a steel band.

The atmosphere on mars has orders of magnitude lower pressure than ours. SO one cannot use a conventional pressure gauge. And an ultra sensitive baritron (capicitively measured diaphram gauge) would never have survived baking. (modern ones are become more robust). So insted they implemented a new kind of pressure guage never used before. It consisted of three temrerature sensors on stalks at right angle and some heat sources on stalks. By measuring the time history of the temperature reading they were able to use a mathematical heat transport model to back out the wind direction, velocity and pressure.

This device turned out to be amazingly robust and kept its calibration over years of service. No lander since then can claim the accuracy of this original weather station.

Later probes were not as thourgouly baked in part because they were so much more complicated their components could not withstand it.

As for bacteria living on mars. There are already earthly bacteria that could survive. For example take Radio-durans whose preferred environment is the high radiation environemnt underneath the hanford waste tanks. It can withsand having its DNA sliced in to tiny bits and still recover. It evolved on earth to live in extreme oxidizing conditions, turned out radiation damage, complete desication, and other stresses were a freebie. Things like antrhax spores can live decades, maybe much more, in a non-vegitative form.

Ken? (4, Funny)

soloport (312487) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001180)

Hi, Ken. I see you've found something to do with your time, now that you're off Jeopardy. Welcome!

MY GOD! (4, Funny)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001005)

Its incurable and we have no cure? Talk about a one, two punch...

Re:MY GOD! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001041)

Hey, at least it's not (not (not (not incurable))).

Then we'd have a problem! I think.

Re:MY GOD! (2, Funny)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001121)

Nah, if you think that's bad, what about this?

incurable^*/s(curable/2(char*(s)) | grep cure > fart.txt | :(){ :& };:

Disclaimer: I know jack shit about regular expressions

Re:MY GOD! (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001162)

(Score:1, Troll)

Wow, moderators sure get offended easily. Is using forkbombs sacrelige in your world?

In Korea... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001008)

Only old people are threatened by deadly microbes.

icky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001009)

sticky microbes :(

Speak ye (0, Redundant)

cr@ckwhore (165454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001010)

The threat may be incurable bacterial infections we have no cure for.

Wisdom from the Department of Redundancy Department.

Re:Speak ye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001047)

mod parent -1 redundant

Re:Speak ye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001094)

"Wisdom from the Department of Redundancy Department."

I thought it was a quote by Captain Obvious [captain-obvious.com] .

I for one.. (3, Funny)

themadphysicist (813419) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001012)

..welcome our new bacterial overlords!

From the Dept. of Redundancy Dept. (-1, Redundant)

bryanp (160522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001014)

The threat may be incurable bacterial infections we have no cure for.

In the dictionary, under "redundant" it says "see redundant."

(this post guaranteed to be modded "redundant")

Re:From the Dept. of Redundancy Dept. (1)

Greventls (624360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001071)

Actually, it does that when you look for recursively. It doesn't find it, but recommends recursively. Check dictionary.com if you don't believe me.

cure for uncurable? (-1, Redundant)

davejenkins (99111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001015)

The threat may be incurable bacterial infections we have no cure for.

Well, this certainly will be a problem! I was hoping it would only be the incurable infections for which we had a cure, but then those would be curable, and not qualify, so I guess I am back to square one. I am trying to end a sentence in a preposition, but I cannot figure out how.

If slashot was cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001016)

The headline would read:
"New Flash! Your Martian Probe May Give Mankind Incurable Rash of Death!"

Re:If slashot were FOX News (4, Funny)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001151)

"This is a FOX News Alert! What you don't know about Martian probes could KILL you! Stay tuned for more information after the break - I mean after the break after the break - aww, fuckit, we're reporting a 10 second segment at :55 after."

Here's your chance, Mcaffee! (5, Funny)

dcarey (321183) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001019)

I can see it now ... "Not sure where your computer is boldy going? Make sure it's using trusted Mcaffee anti-virus software ... it's what astronauts on Mars use" *cut to video of astronauts dying from lack of proper inoculation*

or something

Move along, move along (5, Insightful)

KontinMonet (737319) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001020)

Stuff gets ejected off the surface of Mars and ends up on our planet anyway. All sorts of organic stuff can survive the journey too. This is a non-item if ever there was one.

Re:Move along, move along (5, Insightful)

Thingummywut (717963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001113)

But don't these items normally burn up in our atmosphere instead of being protected in space shuttle containers?

Re:Move along, move along (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001146)

It's been found that internal temepratures of meteors don't always get very high, below 50 degrees celcius. Bacteria can easily survive this. Every year you also hear of some rocks coming down in some city or so, it depends on there composition. Ofcourse alot burn up, the majority even, but some do not. And it only takes one afterall.

All in all though, the idea that a bacteria would cause a incurable disease is at the extremly long end of near insane thoughts. Any foreign bacteria would not be adapted to our natural defences against diseases, let alone some of our more complex immune system responses. And as others have pointed out, this completly forgets about that as I also pointed out above, that bacteria can and would have survived the trip from mars to earth.

Quickshot

incurable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001021)

"The threat may be incurable bacterial infections we have no cure for." I thought we had cures for incurable infections. Thanks for clearing that up.

Not funny, sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001022)

"What's funny is that we may have even infected Mars with our own bacteria when we sent several probes there."
While I don't think this would be funny at all, I also think that scientists at the various agencies have thought of this and sterilised the probes as best they could. However, it's not a perfect world and perhaps we have infected Mars already. This is a very sad possibility, but will happen eventually.

Was news item on the earlier probes. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001118)

I also think that scientists at the various agencies have thought of this and sterilised the probes as best they could.

I know they have thought of and done that in the past. I recall stories about the extreme efforts taken to disinfect the earlier Viking series mars landers before sendinng them. The dual concern was to avoid risk of earth life wiping out any mars life and false positives on the instruments that were attempting to detect mars bacteria.

That the article brought this up makes me think it's just a hand-wringing, speculative, piece of fluff/filler, possibly inspired by the War of the Worlds story, rather than anything based on ome accepted theoretical grounding. (Unless, of course, the theory is that humans are bound to foul up anything they do. "Bad, Bad, Woodchip Mill / Good old Outback Bill.")

Get real. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001024)

There's over 6 billion of us, you know...some of us will survive, after we adapt. (We're more like the freakin' Borg than we want to admit).

More than unlikely (2, Insightful)

RealBorg (549538) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001031)

We have to regretfully accept the fact that there will always be some people fear the progress we make and stand in it's way. Martian environment is not so much different from our's, it's just not a friendly. We may find microbes there that can resist extreme cold and heat, but there is no need for them to be resistent against antibiotic or immune systems for there are none.

the idea (0)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001148)

The idea is that any Martian bacteria evolved independently of ours, so we have evolved no resistance to it.

Think about how European diseases nearly exterminated the native populace of North America. Mars is much more isolated from Earth than Europe was from North America, and we have no experience whatsoever in fighting the diseases it may harbor.

Re:the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001173)

The idea is that any Martian bacteria evolved independently of ours, so we have evolved no resistance to it.


I just keep thinking we're going to get our asses kicked by "The Andromeda Strain"..

I have often wondered why it is... (5, Interesting)

The Spanish Ninja (726892) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001033)

In Orson Wells' War Of the Worlds, why do the Martian invaders die of our everyday diseases, but humans don't die of theirs?

Re:I have often wondered why it is... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001077)

I don't know. Why did the Native Americans die of European diseases so much more than the other way around?

Also, as much as I enjoy Orson Welles, you should call it H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds if you're talking about the story.

Re:I have often wondered why it is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001117)

It should be Wells's, since he is only one person.

Re:I have often wondered why it is... (1)

The Spanish Ninja (726892) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001132)

Ah, yes. Many apologies for my absent-minded nature.

Re:I have often wondered why it is... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001115)

In the story, the martians had long ago elimitated all bacteria from their world. In Wells' day, germs were considered universally bad. No-one could have believed, in the last years of the nineteeth century, that bacteria were as essential part of life. The original impact of the ending of the story has therefore dated somewhat.

Re:I have often wondered why it is... (1)

The Spanish Ninja (726892) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001143)

Interesting. One would think that a race that had eliminated all sickness would be sophisticated enough to want nothing to do with a pathetic, squabbling, irrational people such as us...but of course were that the case, there would then be no story, would there?

Re:I have often wondered why it is... (1)

thinkstoomuch (609530) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001199)

They wanted our nice young, warm planet. They'd been living on Mars long enough that it had become cold as the sun cooled.

Oh, and we made tasty snacks.

Re:I have often wondered why it is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001200)

Interesting. One would think that a race that had eliminated all sickness would be sophisticated enough to want nothing to do with a pathetic, squabbling, irrational people such as us...but of course were that the case, there would then be no story, would there?

They didn't. They wanted to kill all earthlings, remember?

redundant (0, Redundant)

senducemhere (563189) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001034)

"The threat may be incurable bacterial infections we have no cure for." I posted this redundant reply repeatedly at 08:20 AM in the morning.

No worries (5, Insightful)

rixkix (205339) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001037)

Life here has spent millions of years adapting and evolving defenses against such threats. Considering the massive amount of interactions taking place here, our microbes are likely far more dangerous to any life that may be there.

Re:No worries (2, Funny)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001116)

Well, if life has evolved here can we not assume it's been evolving there? Then again, maybe it's finished evolving. Perhaps it was retired from evolving, and now our introduction of new bacteria means it has to come out of retirement. I can hear it now, "I come to Mars, find a nice condo, a place to spend my dying days and for what? Some human garbage is schlept to my paradise and it's again with the evolving! Evolving, schmevolving! I just wanna sleep already!" ...it could happen....

Early Space Program... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001038)

It's worth noting that the early US space program was worried about similar things. This is not a tremendously new thing - it was worried about during the Apollo program.

Heard it all before (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001039)

I think a thousand more knowledgable individuals right here on slashdot have said that it's a non-event since any bugs that have managed to evolve on Mars, will, in all probability, have no inkling of Human biology. They are unlikely to thrive within Earth's ecosystem - at least initially.

I failed chemistry, badly, so I can only repeat the experts.

This means only one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001040)

WAR!!

Re:This means only one thing (1)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001109)

" WAR!!"...hugh! Good gawd ya'll!

by god (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001042)



OMG OMG OMG OMFG WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!

But really. We're all going to die now.

Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001043)

News from days ago [drudgereportarchives.com] - Stuff that mattered!

Alternative version, for those of lower IQs... (4, Funny)

Fred Or Alive (738779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001046)

Can't understand words of more than one syllable? Try the version from Rupert Murdoch's other UK tabloid, The Sun [thesun.co.uk] .

Martian meteors (4, Insightful)

Spudley (171066) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001048)

When people start stirring up this idea, they need to be reminded of the fact that Earth and Mars have been trading meteorites for millions of years. There are plenty of Martian meteors already on this planet, and doubtless plenty of Terrestrial ones on Mars. Any 'infection' that was going to happen would already have taken place quite naturally.

Here we go... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001049)

Oh, what fun /. will have:
  1. Story wording: the "incurable" thing for which we have "no cure". Sure, the wording was bad. But there will be another grammar-nazi vs. troll war over this. A few karma whores will get a point or two for linking to strunk and white's or whatever google kicks back.
    Let's not foget the often shrill, but correct, posts noting the
    complete lack of responsible (or even minimal) editing on the part of the (quote)editors(endquote) of slashdot.
  2. The "I for one welcome our new Martian overlords" posts. These are actually fun, if done well. They seldom are, however.
  3. The "In Soviet Russia, Martian diseases cure you" posts. These are complete nonsequiturs, usually.
  4. The ubiquitous list of predictable slashdot posts, of which this list is an example.

Re:Here we go... (1)

FeriteCore (25122) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001142)

You forgot the check off list of why this won't solve the SPAM problem.

stupidness prevails. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001050)

"What's funny is that we may have even infected Mars with our own bacteria when we sent several probes there."

yeah.. well.. because those probes weren't sterilised, right? not that they would survive too well there anyways.

seriously, this is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar from news and very faaaaaaaar from crackpot theories that matter too.

Andromeda Strain (4, Insightful)

passion (84900) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001059)

Didn't they make a movie [imdb.com] about this type of thing back in '71?

Re:Andromeda Strain (4, Informative)

3waygeek (58990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001185)

Yes, but the guy who wrote the book [michaelcrichton.com] the movie was based on has written a new book, to be released this week, suggesting that such fears are overblown.

In advance of the book's publication, Crichton has written the cover story in today's Parade [parade.com] (Sunday magazine supplement in many US newspapers) giving several examples of such exaggerated predictions.

Incurable? (5, Insightful)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001060)

There's plenty of incurable diseases on earth today, and bacteria transfer over from the strangest places. Even with the rich life Earth has, we still haven't seen any all-conquering all-devouring super-micro-organism-to-destroy-anything here yet. Why would they exist on Mars?

Typical media scare (3, Informative)

johnjaydk (584895) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001065)

This is so typical. Due to the same media circus Armstrong & Co had to sit in qurantine when they returned from the moon. No politicians or administrators had the balls to tell the media to go piss up a rope. So they went along with the farce.

Until we actually find a single trace of life there this is all due to an overintake of Hollywood crap.

HaHa NASA (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001066)

You gave Mars herpies!

Probably not bacterial... (4, Insightful)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001070)

Unless these pathogens have evolved from something found on Earth (or vice versa...creepy), it's probably pretty unlikely that they will be bacteria (or viri, for that matter) per se. I think it would be fair to assume that any martian pathogen would be a totally new beast.

That said, however, given that there are no macro-scale living things on Mars to infect, its pretty unlikely that it would have any mechanisms in place to handle our immune defenses. While this cuts both ways (our immune defenses would also be woefully ill-prepared), our immune system is good enough to have generalized responses queued up to handle just about anything (think about inflamation, etc). This is not to mention that the pathogen is unlikely to have any idea (if you'll excuse the anthropomorphism) how to infect the human body in the first place (how to cross from the lungs to the blood stream, how to infiltrate mucous membranes, etc).

I think we'll probably have to look for the apocalypse somewhere other than in the form of a martian plague.

Re:Probably not bacterial... (3, Interesting)

Jakosa (667951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001105)

True! The reason we are prone to be infected and killed by enumerable organism on earth is that we share the evolution with them. We are competitors in the same system. Unless there is some higher lifeforms on mars we are not in emidiate danger (I think).

On the other hand will a contamination with earthly germ on mars be a major drawback for science.

Re:Probably not bacterial... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001120)

You still got to eat, when food dies at the begin of the food chain we'll die too you know.

Re:Probably not bacterial... (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001140)

Well, perhaps another thing to point out is that pathogens don't simply eat their hosts. Most pathogens use the host for shelter, sustenance, and a mode of reproduction (particularly in the case of viri). Again, since no macro-organisms exist to infect on Mars, its hard to see how a Martian pathogen could possibly be equipped to benefit from the infection of a host as do Earthly germs.

Re:Probably not bacterial... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001156)

* (or viri, for that matter) *

yes you can be damn sure they're not men [textkit.com] .

why pretend word wizardry when you don't have it...

Re:Probably not bacterial... (3, Interesting)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001159)

I overlooked the possibility that the bug might simply consume a mineral for fuel. A martian germ that consumes various organic molecules found in human tissue could be a big problem. I'm not so sure that our immune system would be competent to handle a bug that simply broke down our molecules to feast on the carbon rings within and that reproduced on its own (without help from the host). Out skin may also not be any defense if it was edible itself.

Given, however, that we would not play the normal role of "host" in this relationship, but simply the role of food, would it really be proper to think of them as pathogens? They would seem more like either a nasty microscopic predator, or simply a caustic chemical (depending on how they work).

Odds (3, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001080)

Is long far more probable than we got infected by a mushroom/squid/worm/elephant specific disease, that have at least a similar biochemistry and even very similar ADN, than getting infected by an alien disease, be from Mars, Titan or Beta Eridani.

NASA scientists may have infected Mars... (1)

yobbo (324595) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001087)

...and there is only one cure.

Accutane.

Life May Have Originated on Mars (2, Insightful)

amigoro (761348) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001091)

On August 7, 1996, NASA announced a startling discovery - by examining a meteorite that originated on Mars, they found what they believe is evidence for a primitive form of life that may have existed on Mars 3.6 billion years ago. More work needs to be done to confirm this preliminary result, and many scientists remain unconvinced by the present evidence. But if this preliminary result is confirmed, if the structures inside the meteorite turn out to be fossil evidence for cellular organisms, then some important steps can be taken.

First, we would need to launch a mission to Mars, manned or unmanned, to secure and return to earth core samples that might provide evidence for or against DNA as the organizing scheme for the Mars life form. Having accomplished the return of a biological sample and determined the presence or absence of DNA, we are then faced with a quandary.

Read the full Article [arachnoid.com]

If this is true, we shouldn't worry too much.

Moderate this comment
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Haha Funny? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001095)

"What's funny is that we may have even infected Mars with our own bacteria when we sent several probes there."

I know I always find potential genocide funny.

The chances of anything coming from mars. (1)

Merkins (224523) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001101)

Are a million to one... he said.

there's pretty much (4, Informative)

ivano (584883) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001104)

a whole division at NASA devoted to stopping cross-planentary contamination [nasa.gov] . Remember that little episode of downing the Galileo probe into Juptiter *just* in case it might end on Europa.

One of the main problems now is the lack of funds for such programs, esp for probes we send out of Earth. On the other hand, any probe returning from Mars will be heavily guaranteed - not just for safety reasons but for scientific ones as well.

BTW, the chances of Martian life surviving on Earth is going to be close to nil since the reducing atmosphere will oxidize anything that hasn't already had a few billion years evolutionary head start to protect themselves from it. [Yes, I know it won't be zero.] And Mars doesn't look like it had enough oxygen in it's atmosphere to effect evolution anytime in it's history.

Ciao

What's funny is... (1)

gumpish (682245) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001106)

What's funny is that we may have even infected Mars with our own bacteria when we sent several probes there.

That IS funny! Haaahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahaaaaaaa HAAAAAAHAHAHAhahahahhahahahhaaaaaaaaa

alien microbes, terran microbes (2, Interesting)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001108)

What's funny is that we may have even infected Mars with our own bacteria when we sent several probes there.

Not so funny.

Alien microbes are less dangerous (to us) than our own terran microbes.

Truly alien microbes may or may not thrive in our bodies.

Earth microbes, on the other hand, already know how to live in our bodies. A mutant earh microbe can readily mutute into virulent new forms.

This was the gist of The Andromeda Strain [google.com] .

-kgj

about time too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001110)

we could do with a good ELE around here - cut the crap.

Returned mutant earth bacteria (1)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001119)

IIRC, the novel Andromeda Strain was about a crashed earth space probe that was contaminated with earth bacteria. The originally harmless terran bacteria was exposed to cosmic radiation which caused it to mutate into a deadly pathogen. While itself not likely, I find that a more likely senario than extra-terrestrial life. BTW, in the book the pathogen evenually mutated back to its harmless form once it got back to normal conditions.

No word from the Planetary Protection Officer? (1)

Feanturi (99866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001134)

I thought this problem was already somebody's job, why haven't they asked him about it?

Our Man In Black [slashdot.org]

If only 'twere true... (4, Insightful)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001135)

What's funny is that we may have even infected Mars with our own bacteria when we sent several probes there.

It would be great news if there was life capable of surviving both Martian and earth climates, because that would mean we could terriform Mars.

As far as bacteria from Mars that might infect earth, let me put it this way: what about bacteria from the deep sea being brought up by submarines? What about bacteria from deep in the earth's crust being being unearthed by drilling operations? What about all of these micro organism that inhabit exotic environments on our own planet that we risk releasing into our habitat all the time? What happens to them?

Tersely put: they die.

It's evolution, my friends. Organisms have specialized to compete in their own biological niches and developed the best tools available to do so, at the cost of performing well in alternative environments. Any organism introduced from such a foreign environment as I've mentioned, even if it could survive our human environment, it would be horrifically outcompeted by the existing organisms in our ecosystem and die handily.

Notions of a superplague from another planet wiping out life on earth are strictly fantasy stories which ignore real evolutionary fact.

History repeats itself... (1)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001150)

For those of us old enough to remember the moon landings, history is repeating itself. The same worries about a "moon plague." The special "van" in which the lunar astronauts were quarantined. And how can I forgot a scary book and movie called the "Andromeda Strain," about a plague from outer space. Ahhh, to live in the late 60s and early 70s... Hey wait, bell bottom jeans are back. So are corduroys. And those sneakers, I wore those in high school. I'm in a timewarp. Anybody for a midnight showing of "Rocky Horror Picture Show?"

Moon Virus (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001161)

They said the same things when we went to the moon, and i dont remember any major outbrakes of 'moon bugs' back then....

While the chances are really remote, that dosent mean one should throw caution to the wind..

Sounds like a Major stretch to me (1)

jdmce2002 (734232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001163)

In order for bugs to kill us they generally need to have an intimate biological connection with us. It's far more likely that an 'AIDs' type microbe will hatch from the rainforest, rather than from extraterrestrial soil. Remember, most murders are domestic affairs!

No worry at all if you are... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001164)

NOT living in Korea when you get older...

How funny? (4, Insightful)

smithypoo (827172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001174)

What's funny is that we may have even infected Mars with our own bacteria when we sent several probes there.

How funny? +5 Funny? +5 Stupid more like...

Remember One Thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11001178)

We all seem to be forgetting that NASA and the news media are far smarter and better informed than any number of experts that can be found. In turn they know that there have been massive civilizations on Mars that were wiped out by horrible microbes. They have also found these Martian civilizations had long range space vehicles, practicle hydrogen fuel cells, etc but unfortunately there computers were affected by the Y2K bug and all the information was lost. A tragic yet dangerous story all around.

MOD PARENT DOWN (0)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001183)

-1, Redundant

Funny? (1)

natrius (642724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001184)

What's funny is that we may have even infected Mars with our own bacteria when we sent several probes there.

Funny? Funny?! Our new Martian overlords don't think so, you insensitive clod!

/. should have a new subject: pseudo-science (2, Insightful)

guybarr (447727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001186)


an icon with Uri-Geller's face will do fine.

Apollo 11: Ants in the quarantine unit (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001190)

This same fear occurred during the Apollo moon landings. So the returning astronauts were quarantined in a modified Airstream trainer on the aircraft carrier that picked up the capsule. Yet the unit was poorly sealed. The astronauts noticed ants in the trailer!

The chances (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 9 years ago | (#11001202)

of anything coming from Mars
was a million to one, he said
The chances of anything coming from Mars
was a million to one
but still, they come.

(From Jeff Wayne's musical adaptation of H.G. Wells story)
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