Skip to comments.Scientists fear Curiosity rover drill bits could contaminate Mars
Posted on 09/10/2012 8:07:04 AM PDT by servo1969
For all the hopes NASA has pinned on the rover it deposited on Mars last month, one wish has gone unspoken: Please dont find water.
Scientists dont believe they will. They chose the cold, dry equatorial landing site in Mars Gale Crater for its geology, not its prospects for harboring water or ice, which exist elsewhere on the planet.
But if by chance the rover Curiosity does find water, a controversy that has simmered at NASA for nearly a year will burst into the open. Curiositys drill bits may be contaminated with Earth microbes. If they are, and if those bits touch water, the organisms could survive.
The possible contamination of the drill bits occurred six months before the rovers launch last Nov. 26. The bits had been sterilized inside a box to be opened only after Curiosity landed on Mars.
But that changed after engineers grew concerned that a rough landing could damage the rover and the drill mechanism. They decided to open the box and mount one bit in the drill as a hedge to ensure success of one of the most promising scientific tools aboard Curiosity. The drill is to bore into rocks looking for clues that life could have existed on the planet. Even if a damaged mechanism couldnt load a drill bit, at least the rover would have one ready to go.
Conleys predecessor at NASA, John D. Rummel, a professor of biology at East Carolina University, said, partly in jest: It will be a sad day for NASA if they do detect ice or water. Thats because the Curiosity project will most likely be told, Gee, thats nice. Now turn around.
(Excerpt) Read more at csmonitor.com ...
Earth organisms that can survive space?
Do you really think those organisms can survive on Mars?
So no worries about the Ruskies’ drill bit in Lake Vostok, but major concerns about the US drill bit on Mars?
Whatsamatter — Anti-Americans and moslims didn’t build the Mars drill bit?
Since we know that material from Mars has reached earth in the form of meteorites, it is indeed possible (if not probable) that earth materials have been blasted out and have landed on Mars.
We should obviously always be careful, but methinks this may be much ado about something that’s already happened - through natural forces.
Drill mars like a drunken prom date.
Curiosity is now to be renamed the JackWagon.
We’ll spread plague and disease to a new world and kill off all the native people, that’s what.
Well, Obama was claiming credit for Curiosity just yesterday so I guess he gets the blame as well.
The problem is that it could compromise the research; if Mars is contaminated with microbes from Curiosity then it could cast doubt on any detection of life signs.
If we ever establish a manned colony on Mars won’t that also contaminate the planet? Or are we going to export some Sierra Club ninnies to make sure we don’t pollute the place?
According to the article they aren’t looking for life signs this go around.
“Ack! Ack ack!”
Because when “o”care is finished that will be the only place acceptable to live.
In future, they will be.
We’re going to have to eventually terraform the place before we can live there. Might as well get started.
And it’s entirely possible Mars is already contaminated with microbes from the previous probes.
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