Frequent space travels could contaminate the red planet, Mars, and another world, including Earth, exploring extra-terrestrial life.
According to NASA’s scientists, the future of space exploration using microorganisms with Earth’s origin is near dangerous. In 2019, the German Aerospace Centre collided with NASA to launch a space mission they dubbed “MARSBOx” (Microbes in Atmosphere for Radiation, Survival, and Biological Outcomes Experiment) — with practical experiments to enhance extra-terrestrial life.
“The MARSBOx mission is an important way to help us explore all the implications of space travel on microbial life and how we can drive this knowledge towards amazing space discoveries,” Siems said.
They sent several life forms to the Red planet’s stratosphere, including fungi and bacteria — fungal spores of Aspergillus niger, Staphylococcus capitis subsp. Salinisphaera shabanensis, capitis, and Buttiauxella sp. MASE-IM-9 bacterial cells placed in an aluminium container directed to survive in the Martian-like atmosphere.
The stratosphere is positioned above the ozone layer, Earth’s second layer in the atmosphere.
According to the scientists, the Red planet’s atmosphere is closely related to Earth’s, and the organisms are perfect samples to experiment with — the scientists believe the life forms on Earth can also coexist in another world with similar atmospheric particles to that of its origin.
At the time, the scientists published their space findings with further information about the survival of black mold spores sent to the Red planet.
In line with the scientist’s publication, the microorganism’s coexistence in space became precise; they cannot live longer than a short while in Mars’ atmosphere. The scientists said the spores had the possibility of regaining consciousness before their return to Earth.
The MARSBOx container was designed by NASA, which has two major sections — the bottom is shielded from radiation, giving the American space agency an edge to differentiate and separate possible diverse effects caused by either environmental or radioactive conditional impact.
NASA’s experimental air balloon transported the MARSBOx to the Red planet’s stratosphere — the Martian-like atmospheric conditions are vulnerable to Earth’s radiation. Exposure to Mars UV radiation effects is ten times effective than Earth’s sunburn, in line with the team of scientists’ publication.
“With long-term crewed missions to Mars, we need to know how human-associated microorganisms would survive on the Red Planet, as some may pose a health risk to astronauts. Katharina Siems, a scientist among the team representing the German Aerospace Centre, added, “some microbes could be invaluable for space exploration. They could help us produce food and material supplies independently from Earth, which will be crucial when far away from home.”
In the 2020 pandemic rise, America’s space agency changed its policies to space exploration, which is centred on the avoidance of humans contaminating other worlds, including the moon and Mars.
According to NASA’s Policy update, scrutinizing their operations to avoid expensive mistakes whereby contaminated test subjects from Earth will compromise the search for extra-terrestrial life in other worlds.
On the contrary, the contamination of worlds could also be instigated by space travellers unknowingly returning to Earth with contaminated life forms, which is likely to affect our world negatively.