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

'By far the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it'

 

Eliezer Yudkowsky

NASA Is Sending Bacteria to the Edge of Space to See if They Can Hitchhike to Mars

RATE THIS! +31
Posted in Science on 27th Sep, 2015 08:20 PM by AlexMuller

Discovering life on another planet, only to contaminate that world with our own pesky microbes, is one of NASA’s nightmare scenarios. To find out whether single-celled Earthlings can hitchhike to Mars and survive on the Red Planet’s surface, NASA is going to see how they do 120,000 feet up.

 
Today, weather permitting, a helium balloon carrying a very special scientific experiment will launch to the edge of space from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Its passengers, a collection of bacteria, are loaded into containers that’ll shield them from the elements during their ascent into Earth’s stratosphere. Once the balloon reaches its target altitude, the sample chambers will pop open, exposing their hapless test subjects for a pre-determined period of time: 6, 12, 18, or 24 hours. At the end of the experiment, the balloon will explode and its microbial payload will parachute back to Earth.
 
Earth’s upper stratosphere is a pretty hellish environment: It’s well below freezing, bone dry, practically a vacuum, and awash in ultraviolet radiation. Sorta like the surface of Mars. It’s hard to imagine anything surviving up there, and yet, previous studies have shown that some fearless bugs do make a living in the stratosphere after being blown skyward by dust storms or hurricanes. Even more impressive, recent work on the ISS shows that dormant bacteria, fungal spores, and even plant seeds can survive strapped to the outside of a spacecraft, if they’re shielded from the intense UV radiation.
 
Given life’s tenacity, the possibility of contaminating an alien environment is one that deserves to be studied and understood. Beyond Mars, there’s NASA’s recently announced Europa mission, and further down the line, we might even send a space probe to Saturn’s ice moon Enceladus. Both of these missions, if and when they happen, will be on the hunt for alien life. It sure would be a bummer to mistake a stowaway for the biggest scientific discovery of all time.

Tags: MarsspaceplanetNASAlifebiologyexperimentresearch

Read original article » Back to category

Comments



 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Business on 2017-03-26 19:56:28
    The U.S. will be hit worse by job automation than other.....read more
    Posted in Business on 2017-03-26 19:49:51
    Elon Musk says Tesla will start taking orders for Solar.....read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-03-26 19:39:27
    Impact crater linked to Martian tsunamis..read more
    Posted in Software on 2017-03-25 14:13:38
    Google Develops A Deep Learning Machine That Could Learn.....read more
    Posted in Medicine on 2017-03-25 14:26:25
    Google’s Calico partners with new biotech firm to.....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
    Intensive medical treatment can reverse type 2 diabetes..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Daily consumption of tea protects the elderly from cognitive.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    New analysis method of metabolites accurately predicts whether.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Unproven stem cell 'therapy' blinds three patients at Florida.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Indigenous South American group has healthiest arteries of all.....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