Thursday, June 02, 2005

Space Invaders

The New Scientist is reporting about a twist on the concept of "alien invasion": microbes present on Earth's spacecraft may be able to survive on Mars. Scientists used the hardy bacterium Chroococcidiopsis sp. 029 to show that microbes not only live through the trip from one planet to another, they can also avoid death from Mars' harsh UV rays if they are buried under a small amount of substrate. You can read the research paper, from the journal Astrobiology, by clicking here (.pdf). I thought this was being reported as a warning, but scientists have apparently known about this for a while - NASA posted this article back in 2001 about how Chroococcidiopsis would be a great starter candidate for terraforming Mars. Sheesh, can't we just build a Genesis Device instead?

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