Talk:National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

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This sort of plan will run into opposition from the no-sample-return-from-Mars crowd. Samples have been returned to Earth from Mars numerous times by nature and Mars is as dead as a doornail, but some people need to be worried about something. So, some people worry about microbes from Mars contaminating Earth.--Farred 06:39, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

What are you talking about? -- Rfc 18:42, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Perhaps you have heard of a group that opposes any sample return from Mars mission because they claim that there is a danger that microbes from Mars could contaminate Earth. Sending astronauts to Mars and returning them is a sample return mission, and as such will see opposition. Samples of Mars have been returned to Earth as chuncks of Mars blasted out of the planet by large impacting bodies. Finding even one such chunck of Mars on Earth as a meteorite indicates that this natural sample return process has occurred many times and there has been no observed detrimental effect from contamination. When I write that Mars is as dead as a doornail, I am writing literally about the biological condition. There are no microbes on Mars to worry about. Some people are stubbornly difficult to convince about this fact, and just do not want to take the chance that Mars microbes would overrun Earth like rabbits overran the Australian outback. I do not imply that the political situation of Mars exploration and development is dead.--Farred 12:02, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I agree. Living is dangerous, and it always ends deadly. -- Rfc 19:24, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Are you SURE Mars is dead? We haven't found any life yet, because we have not looked in the right places. While I don't think we should completely rule out the possibility of microbes from Mars, I doubt they will cause much trouble for us. We should be far more concerned about terrestrial microbes contaminating the samples, or Mars itself. T.Neo 17:21, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Yes I am sure Mars is dead. The evidence already returned by probes convinces me. Some people are just harder to convince.--Farred 04:44, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

The Viking experiments only involved the highly exposed layers of topsoil, which is the least likely place to find any life. We have had no direct exploration of the underground aquifers, for example, which would be better environments for life to exist. T.Neo 12:27, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

  • There are no underground aquifers on Mars. The degree of surface roughness revealed by remote observation is inconsistent with the lower strength that would be in hydrated soils. Except near the poles, the amount of moisture in the soil is very low. Near the poles the moisture is in frozen soils and blocks of ice neither of which support life. To have underground aquifers there would have had to have been impermiable layers holding in the vapor pressure. Apparently this did not happen. I do not know weather to be sad that the resource of pumpable underground water is absent, or happy that we can forget about the threat of Martian microbes. I think people will come around to recognizing that Mars is lifeless eventually.--Farred 16:27, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

I'd like to see a statement from NASA or another reputable organization about the lack of aquifers or life on Mars before I start to take your comments on the subject seriously. No offense intended. T.Neo 19:37, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

In any case, I think there is nothing to worry about. Microbes are always adapted closely to their natural host. In rare cases a microbe manages to jump from one terrestrial species to another. But this is rare. And this applies only for microbes that are already accustomed to live in hosts. The terrestrial soil microbes never jump to an animal, because thei have adapted to the soil environment, and their whole metabolism depends upon this environment. With Martian microbes this is even more unlikely. -- Rfc 19:49, 12 May 2009 (UTC)