Monday, September 26, 2016

Hunt for Alien Life Sullied by Contamination?

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Hunt for Alien Life Sullied by Contamination?
Mars probes have found special regions that could support the growth of hardy microorganisms.

Rovers and probes have found special places on Mars where Earth microbes could thrive, risking contamination unless we take precautions.
     Twenty years ago, America celebrated its Independence Day by landing several thousand invaders on the surface of Mars.

On July 4, 1997, the Pathfinder spacecraft touched down in a northern
By Mark Strauss
National Geographic
lowland called Chryse Planitia carrying a small rover named Sojourner—as well as a large amount of stowaways in the form of earthly microbes.

Did any of these microbes survive and reproduce, establishing themselves as Earth’s first colonists on a distant world? Highly unlikely, NASA assured us at the time, noting that scientists believed “it would be difficult to sustain and cultivate life on Mars.” ...

But, as Jurassic Park famously pointed out, life often finds a way. ...

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