Space agencies have taken major precautions not to contaminate celestial bodies with terrestrial microbes – but some scientists believe that the introduction of our germs on Mars can be useful.
A new article has suggested that releasing human microbes will initiate the red planet terraforming process and create an environment that can support life.
The team has proposed to develop a process whereby promising microbes are screened and dangerous removed before they are released on Mars.
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A new article has suggested that releasing human microbes will initiate the red planet terraforming process and create an environment that can sustain life
The newly proposed idea comes from Microbiology Ecology, microbiologist Jose Lopez, a professor at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, along with colleagues W. Raquel Peixoto and Alexandre Rosado of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, who have this new theory a & # 39; major overhaul & # 39; to mention. & # 39 ;, George Dvorsky with Gizmodo reported.
The team wants NASA and other space agencies to send terrestrial germs to Mars, hoping to tame the unpredictable climate on the planet and create a livable surface.
An important argument of the researchers is that the prevention of contamination is a & # 39; almost impossible & # 39; is, as the authors claim in the study.
Space agencies, however, have established specific protocols to prevent contamination of other planets and experts have noted that more research needs to be done before we pollute other worlds.
The team has proposed to develop a process whereby promising microbes are screened and dangerous removed before they are released on Mars. The Glenelg area of Gale Crater on Mars is depicted
The idea of protecting celestial bodies dates back to the 1950s when the philosophy of planetary protection was created with the sole purpose of recommending and designing such protocols that protect space against terrestrial microbes.
It claims that our germs can contaminate scientifically important areas of the solar system – similar to how a crime scene can be compromised if someone who is not involved touches evidence.
Although the idea of sterilization has been around for decades, Lopez and his team believe that it is inevitable that our germs will reach Mars and other planets.
& # 39; Microbial introduction in particular should not be considered unintended but unavoidable & # 39 ;, is the article published in FEMS Microbiology Ecology.
WHAT PROOFS ARE SCIENTISTS LIFE ON MARCH?
The search for life on other planets has fascinated humanity for decades.
But the reality might look a little less like the Hollywood blockbusters, scientists have revealed.
They say that if there was life on the red planet, it will probably present itself as fossilized bacteria – and have proposed a new way to look for it.
Here are the most promising signs of life so far –
When looking for life on Mars, experts agree that water is the key.
Although the planet is now rocky and bare with water trapped in polar ice caps, there may have been water in the past.
In 2000, scientists first saw evidence of the existence of water on Mars.
The Nasa Mars Global Surveyor found channels that could have been created by running water.
The debate is ongoing as to whether this recurring slope line (RSL) could have been formed from water flow.
The Earth has been hit by 34 meteorites from Mars, three of which are believed to have the potential to bear evidence of past life on the planet, writes Space.com.
In 1996, experts found a meteorite in Antarctica, known as ALH 84001, which contained fossilized bacterial formations.
In 2012, however, experts came to the conclusion that this organic material was formed by volcanic activity without life.
Signs of life
The first close-ups of the planet were taken by the Mariner 4 mission of 1964.
These first images showed that Mars has landforms that could have been formed when the climate was much wetter and therefore livable.
The first Viking orbiter was launched in 1975 and, while not decisive, paved the way for other landers.
Many robbers, orbiters and landers have now revealed clues for water under the crust and even incidental precipitation.
Earlier this year, Nasa & # 39; s Curiosity robber found potential building blocks of life in an ancient lake of Mars.
The organic molecules preserved in 3.5 billion-year-old rock in Gale Crater – thought to have once been a shallow lake the size of Florida Lake Okeechobee – suggest that the circumstances at that time may have led to life.
Future missions to Mars are planning to return monsters to Earth to test them more thoroughly.
In 2018, Curiosity also confirmed a strong seasonal increase in methane in the atmosphere of Mars.
Experts say the methane observations & # 39; one of the most convincing & # 39; fallen for the present life.
The methane measurements of Curiosity took place during four and a half Earth years, and covered parts of three Mars years.
Seasonal peaks were detected in the late summer in the northern hemisphere and late winter in the southern hemisphere.
The size of these seasonal peaks – by a factor of three – was much more than scientists had expected.
& # 39; We assume the almost inability to explore new planets without carrying and / or delivering microbial travelers. & # 39;
Bovendien Moreover, although we emphasize the importance of controlling and monitoring such contaminants – to investigate the existence of alien microorganisms – we also believe that we should discuss the role of microbes as primary settlers and assets, instead of serendipity accidents, for future plans for alien colonization. & # 39;
Lopez and his team also claim that microorganisms have caused the process that has made our own planet livable.
& # 39; Life as we know it cannot exist without useful microorganisms & # 39 ;, Lopez said in a press release from NSU.
& # 39; They are here on our planet and are helping to define symbiotic associations – the coexistence of multiple organisms to create a larger whole. & # 39;
& # 39; To survive on infertile (and as far as all journeys tell us so far) sterile planets, we need to bring useful microbes (to Mars). & # 39;
& # 39; This will take time to prepare, differentiate, and we do not argue for rush to inoculate, but only after rigorous, systematic research on Earth. & # 39;
They also suggest that if we are going to colonize Mars, we need to look at the role that our microbes play, but & # 39; spreading bacteria around Mars is not random and without careful foresight, & quot; the research team shared.
& # 39; Instead, we envision a deliberate and measured research program on microbial colonization, while realizing the limits of current technologies, & # 39; is reading the paper.
& # 39; That is why we argue for a conservative scheme of microbial introductions into space, while also realizing that human colonization cannot be viewed separately from microbial introductions. & # 39;
The team said that extremophiles should be the first microbes released on the red planet because this organism is able to tolerate and even depends and thrives in harsh environmental conditions. Depicted is the Curiosity Rover on Mars
Lopez now presents what he and his team call a proactive vaccination plan, in which promising microbes must be examined before they are released on Mars.
This gives scientists the opportunity to discard dangerous microbes and only the & # 39; most productive & # 39; to use in missions.
& # 39; If humanity is seriously considering colonizing Mars, another planet or one of the nearby moons in the future, then people need to identify, understand and guide the most competitive and useful pioneers & # 39 ;, the newspaper said.
& # 39; Choosing or developing the most sustainable microbial taxa or communities can be done with consultation, systematic research, and current data, instead of serendipitously lifting random bacteria on space stations & # 39 ;.
It is suggested that extremophiles should be the first microbes released on the red planet because this organism is able to tolerate and even depends and thrives in harsh environmental conditions.
& # 39; Earth's habitat was probably very inhospitable more than 4 billion years ago, but microbial life emerged and evolved over time, & Lopez and his team shared.
& # 39; The first microbial settlers of extraplanetary bodies are likely to come from extremophiles. & # 39;
However, other experts in this field have expressed serious concerns; over the paper.
Steve Clifford, senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, told Gizmodo that any mistake made by releasing terrestrial microbes could be much larger in the short term.
Clifford does not deny that people will eventually infect Mars, but said: & # 39; we must follow the equivalent of the planetary protection of the Hippocratic Oath: & # 39; do no harm & # 39 ;.
& # 39; I believe that the potential contamination of an extraterrestrial biosphere is a serious ethical concern – because that is a legacy we have with us forever, & # 39; Clifford told Gizmodo in an email.
Like Huffman, he is concerned that terrestrial pathogens could hamper our ability to do science on Mars and said there is no reason to believe that current planetary protection systems are not working.
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