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David Weintraub, University of Vanderbilt
(CONTINUED) The nearest place in the universe where there may be extraterrestrial life is Mars and people are ready to try to colonize this neighboring planet within the next decade. Before this happens, we must recognize that there is a very real possibility that the first human steps on the surface of Mars will lead to a conflict between terrestrial life and living from Mars.
If the red planet is sterile, a human presence there would not create moral or moral dilemmas on this front. But if life is on Mars, human explorers could easily lead to the disappearance of Mars life. As an astronomer who explores these questions in my book "Life on Mars: What we need to know before we go," I argue that we Agriculturalists need to understand this scenario and discuss the possible outcomes of colonizing our neighboring planet in advance . Maybe the missions that will take people to Mars need a time limit.
Where life may be
Life, scientists say, has some basic requirements. It could exist anywhere in the universe that has liquid water, a source of heat and energy and abundant quantities of some essential elements, such as coal, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and potassium.
Mars is appropriate, like at least two other places in our solar system. And Europe, one of the great moons of Zeus, and Enceladus, one of Saturn's great moons, seems to have these prerequisites for hosting natural biology.
I suggest that the way scientists designed exploratory missions to these two moons provides a valuable background when they look at how to explore Mars without the risk of infection.
Under their thick layers of surface ice, both Europe and Enceladus have global oceans, in which 4.5 billion years of primitive decay may have allowed life to grow and take root. The NASA spacecraft has even depicted spectacular geysers that emit masses of water outside the underground oceans.
To find out if the moon is alive, planetary scientists are actively deploying the Europa Clipper mission for the 2020 launch. They also hope to plan future missions that will target Enceladus.
Be careful not to infect
Since the beginning of the space age, scientists have taken seriously the threat of biological contamination in other worlds. As early as 1959, NASA held meetings to discuss the necessity of sterilizing a spacecraft that could be shipped to other worlds. Since then, all global exploration missions have complied with sterilization standards that balance their scientific objectives with restrictions that do not destroy sensitive equipment, which could potentially lead to shipping failures. Today, there are NASA protocols to protect all the bodies of the solar system, including Mars.
Since avoiding the biological contamination of Europa and Enceladus is a highly comprehensible requirement of high priority for all missions in the Jovian and Saturnian environments, their moons remain uncontaminated.
NASA's Galileo mission explored Jupiter and its moons from 1995 to 2003. Given the Galileo track, there was the possibility that the spacecraft, when it came out of a rocket propel and was subject to the whims of gravity tugs by Zeus and the many moons, contaminate Europe.
Such a conflict may not happen for many millions of years from now. Nevertheless, although the risk was small, it was also real. NASA has paid particular attention to the guidance of the National Academies for Planetary and Lunar Exploration, which has had serious national and international objections to the possible accidental disposition of the Galileo space vehicle in Europe.
To completely eradicate this danger, on September 21, 2003, NASA used the last piece of fuel in the spacecraft to send it sinking into the Jupiter atmosphere. At a speed of 30 miles per second, Galileo evaporated within a few seconds.
Fourteen years later, NASA has repeated this protection scenario. The Cassini mission rotates and studies Saturn and its moons from 2004 until 2017. On September 15, 2017, when the fuels were low, according to NASA's instructions, Cassini's pilots deliberately dropped the spacecraft into the Saturn atmosphere, where decomposed.
But what about Mars?
Mars is the target of seven active missions, including two routers, Opportunities and Curiosity. In addition, on November 26, NASA's InSight mission is scheduled to land on Mars, where it will measure the internal structure of Mars. Then, with the planned launch for 2020, both the ESA ExoMars and the Mars 2020 Rover of NASA are designed to look for life data on Mars.
The good news is that robotic rovers present a small risk of contamination on Mars, since all spacecraft designed to land on Mars are subject to rigorous sterilization procedures before the launch. This was when NASA imposed "rigorous sterilization procedures" on Viking Lander capsules in the 1970s, as they would come directly into contact with Mars surface. These runners are likely to have an extremely low number of microbubble strollers.
Any terrestrial herbicide that manages to launch out of these pavements would have had a very difficult time to survive the six-month journey from Earth to Mars. The void of space combined with exposure to harsh X-rays, ultraviolet light and cosmic rays will almost certainly sterilize the outer parts of any spacecraft that is sent to Mars.
Any bacteria that fell on one of the pavements can reach Mars alive. But if we do not, Mars's fine atmosphere does not actually offer protection from high energy, sterilizing radiation from space. These bacteria are likely to be killed immediately. Because of this harsh environment, life on Mars, if it exists at this time, almost certainly has to be hidden beneath the surface of the planet. Since no runner has explored caves or dug deep holes, we still did not have the opportunity to come up with a drill with potentially possible Martyr witnesses.
Since Mars exploration has so far been limited to unmanned vehicles, the planet is likely to remain free of land pollution.
But when Earth sends astronauts to Mars, they will travel with life support systems and energy supply systems, habitats, 3D printers, food and tools. None of these materials can be sterilized in the same way systems associated with robotic spacecraft. Human colonists will produce waste, try to cultivate food and use machines to extract water from the soil and the atmosphere Just with life on Mars, homicides will pollute Mars.
The clock can not be returned after infection
Space researchers have developed a cautious approach to Mars robotic exploration and a stance towards Europe and Enceladus. So why are we collectively willing to overlook the danger to urban exploration and colonization of the red planet?
Infectious Mars is not an unpredictable consequence. A quarter of a century ago, a report by the National Research Council entitled "Marine Contamination of Mars: Issues and Recommendations" argued that missions carrying people to Mars would inevitably pollute the planet.
I believe it is critical that every effort is made to obtain evidence of any previous or present life on Mars long before future Mars missions involving people. What we discover could influence our collective decision whether to send settlers there.
Even if we ignore or care about the dangers that human presence might have in Mars 'life, the issue of returning to Mars' life has serious social, legal and international consequences that deserve the debate before it is too late. What Are The Risks That Mars Can Do in our Environment or Health? And does any country or group have the right to re-challenge the pollution if these Martian life-forms could attack the DNA molecule and thus endanger life on Earth?
But the players, both public – NASA, Mars 2117 of the United Arab Emirates – and SpaceX, Aris Blue, Blue Origin – are already planning to transfer colonists to build cities on Mars. And these missions will pollute Mars.
Some scientists believe it
have already revealed
powerful elements for life on Mars, both in the past and present. If life already exists on Mars, then Aris now belongs to the martyrs. Mars is their planet and Mars life will be threatened by a human presence there.
Does humanity have an inalienable right to colonize Mars just because we will soon be able to do that? We have the technology to use the robots to determine whether Mars is inhabited. Does Ethics require us to use these tools to answer definitively if Mars is inhabited or sterilized before putting human traces on Mars surface?
This article was republished by Creative Commons License Discussion. Read the original article here: http://theconversation.com/colonizing-mars-means-contaminating-mars-and-never-knowing-for-sure-if-it-had-its-own-native-life-103053.