Social Media Sidebar

Announcement

Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible. 

 

Peter Diamandis

4 ways spacefaring microbes could mess with the solar system

RATE THIS! +13
Posted in Science on 31st Dec, 2014 10:38 PM by AlexMuller

To prepare the Curiosity rover for Mars, NASA scrubbed it with alcohol and baked it. This is part of the protocol for “planetary protection,” a policy devised in the 1950s to keep earthly microbes from contaminating other worlds. But when scientists swabbed Curiosity, they found 56,400 organisms from 377 bacterial strains.

 

Then, in the lab, researchers tried to take them out by other means: ultraviolet blasts, high pH environments, and dehydration. Still, the majority survived at least one trial unscathed.

 

“Whatever we throw at them, they find a way around it,” says University of Idaho microbiologist Stephanie Smith. Unless scientists can identify the Achilles’ heels of these bugs, missions will keep sending them into space. Here are four ways that could come back to bite us.
 
Contagions: During a long stint in a space colony, astronauts’ immune systems will likely weaken. If a microbe like E. coli, previously found clinging to “clean” spacecraft, contaminates the water or food supply, it could devastate the crew.
 
Invasions: Places with liquid water, such as Europa, might make good bacterial breeding grounds. A hardy species like Geobacillus stearothermophilus, prevalent in Earth’s ocean sediments and soil, could overrun an entire biosphere once it gets a hold.
 
Mysteries: The organisms that survive NASA’s protocols tend to be enigmatic. There are some species, like Tersicoccus phoenicis, that we didn’t even know existed; scientists have found it only in the clean rooms where spacecraft are assembled.
 
Confusion: If we leave Earth bugs in our wake, any life that planetary scientists may someday detect could simply have fallen off a lander. And without a better understanding of the species we bring to space, we might not recognize it as terrestrial.

Tags: MarsCuriosityspaceNASAbacterialife

Read original article » Back to category

Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2015-01-01
+1
Life has great capacity to evolve and adapt and microorganisms are particularly good at this. In fact so good that preventing spreading looks like an impossible task Reply


 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Software on 2017-12-17 22:27:47
    Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple added to Bloomberg.....read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-12-17 22:22:12
    Blue Origin flies booster and crew capsule..read more
    Posted in Medicine on 2017-12-17 22:19:29
    Anti-aging drugs only a few years away..read more
    Posted in Online on 2017-12-15 13:43:41
    The FCC votes to repeal the 2015 net neutrality rules..read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-12-15 13:34:37
    How Clinical Trials Are Making the Case for MDMA in.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 Downloads..read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into new.....read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs,.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short Sighted..read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, but.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria..read more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Martian landscapes formed from sand 'levitating' on a little.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Scientists detect comets outside our solar system..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Advanced artificial limbs mapped in the brain..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Bacteria have a sense of touch..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Recurrent brain cancer: New hope with phase 1 clinical trial.....read more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Username:
Password:
Remember me
or

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Username:
Email:
Password:
Verify password:
Remember me