Yes, there is life on Mars! However, it was brought in from Earth by the many Mars missions. At least that is what the geneticist and biochemist Christopher Mason, who teaches at the renowned Cornell University in New York, is convinced of.
The scientist writes in a guest post by BBCthat Nasa and space agencies in other countries may have inadvertently brought microbes to our neighboring planet. So far, 30 spaceships and rovers have been on the planet and may have left traces of life there.
Microbes mutate on the journey
Even if NASA takes extreme hygiene measures, the proportion of microbes brought with them cannot be kept at zero, writes Mason. “Microbes have been on earth for billions of years, and they’re everywhere. They are in us, on our bodies and all around us. Some can nestle and multiply even in the cleanest of rooms. “
The microbes transported from Earth into space could quickly adapt to the new conditions and mutate on the journey and on Mars. That would make them look like new microbes to NASA. This process has already been observed in the ISS space station.
As soon as these microbes arrive on Mars, “forward contamination” occurs. This is how researchers describe the process when earthly living beings reach other celestial bodies and “infect” them. Mason warns that microbes can “wreak havoc” when they arrive in a new ecosystem.
The traces of life found on Mars do not necessarily have to originate on the Red Planet.
Man learns to survive
Last year, the US and China each sent a vehicle to Mars. The small helicopter, for which the Obwalden-based company Maxon Motor also supplied components, is a special feature of the NASA program.
Mason sees great potential in researching well-traveled, heavily irradiated and cooled-down living beings. They show how people could also ensure their survival in a climatically uncertain future. (gf)