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Re: Thoughts on Bio Contamination

Hello Gene and list,

Gene, you need to slow down and consider two things: the word
"hypothetical" and the fact that all of your arguments are based on
"life as we know it." The latter being a meaningless term when
discussing how an organisim evolved in a different ecosystem would react
in >our< ecosystem. We have no basis for making assumptions that nothing
can happen. I said it was an unlikely scenario, but never say never. If
you would like to volunteer to be the first exposed to possible martian
organisms, NASA might have a job for you (although some ethics group
would probably object).  :-) I prefer not to use the Earth as the test

Gene R.

Gene Marlin wrote:
> > Imagine an alga-like organism that mutates easily to adapt to rapidly
> > changing conditions on Mars. It uses a very dark green, almost black
> > chlorophyl like substance to produce food from carbon dioxide, minerals,
> > small amounts of water and weak sunlight. Because of the weaker
> > sunlight, it uses the higher end of the spectrum, into the violets and
> > ultraviolet. Reproduction is by airborne spores as wind is the only
> > transport mechanism available to it. Essentially a very hardy organism
> > that is kept in check by a low resource availability.
> Our atmosphere is thinker than that of Mars. Light would be less
> plentiful in the portion of the spectrum to which the hypothetical algae
> is used to. This would likely retard the growth.
> Our planet has very much water, in relation to Mars. You know what
> happens when you take an Earth plant or lichen out of the desert and put
> it in a rain forest, right? At best, it will live but it won't thrive in
> any sense of the word.
> Another point is that algae on Mars will likely have to extract
> chemicals from the regolith, which is chemically different that what we
> have here on Earth. Generally, the algae you bring here will be deprived
> of essential nutrients required for its survival.

== snip ==

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