[meteorite-list] Panspermia and Mars back contamination

From: Chris Peterson <clp_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sat, 6 Jun 2009 00:05:44 -0600
Message-ID: <F3E210224A8D40B6BE5B175AB00562DB_at_bellatrix>

>The whole fear that return samples from Mars, either
>by robotic mission or manned, seems thoroughly irrational to me.

I think that's a little extreme, but I certainly agree with you that any
life on Mars is very unlikely to be pathogenic. On Earth, only a tiny
percentage of microbes are pathogens, and the majority of those have evolved
as such in concert with our own evolution. Pathogens and their hosts are,
quite literally, made for each other.

Still, some microbes are incredibly hardy, and the potential that something
from either planet might become an invasive species on the other (with
unknown environmental consequences) should at least be taken into
consideration when designing missions. If nothing else, any cross
contamination could thoroughly ruin the quality of science that can be


Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rob McCafferty" <rob_mccafferty at yahoo.com>
To: <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
Sent: Friday, June 05, 2009 5:38 PM
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] Panspermia and Mars back contamination

> On a more realistic note...(though I applaud the jocularity)
> The whole fear that return samples from Mars, either by robotic mission or
> manned, seems thoroughly irrational to me.
> The very idea that a microbe that MAY exist on present day Mars that will
> have spent 3 Aeons adapting to a cold, dry, low atmospheric pressure, slow
> metabolic existence would thrive inside a human body seems, frankly
> ludicrous.
> On earth, extremophiles can only exist in their own little niches because
> once they are out of them, they either die from conditions or competition
> from better adapted organisms.
> Given the opportunity to go to Mars, I'd be there like a shot and I'd take
> my chances.
> As for Greg's Martian Champagne. I can't help feeling we have an idea for
> the latest "trendy" craze to part overpaid footballers (soccer players)
> from their cash.
> I reckon you could get these self centred egotists to pay ?300 ($500) for
> a glass of "Rock Rose" or "Selene Rum" (registered trade marks, patent
> pending) as they attempt to impress their friends/one night stands and
> probably make enough money in a month to retire on in London.
> I'm gonna be rich
> Rob
Received on Sat 06 Jun 2009 02:05:44 AM PDT

Help support this free mailing list:

Yahoo MyWeb