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(LA Times)   Someone at NASA opened a box they weren't supposed to and now we may have infected Mars with space diseases. Pandora unavailable for questioning   (latimes.com) divider line 47
    More: Cool, Mars rovers, NASA, NASA Headquarters, forced sterilization, diseases, spectrometers  
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7075 clicks; posted to Geek » on 10 Sep 2012 at 4:52 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-09-10 12:07:09 AM  
But it's OK for Mars to blow dust against the unsterilized parts of the vehicle, and carry the dust to water?
 
2012-09-10 12:17:25 AM  
If it was up to me, I'd load that sucker up with all sorts of filthy bugs and aim it right at the wettest spot on the planet and see what happens. God, motherfarkers, let's play it.
 
2012-09-10 12:52:04 AM  
Damn it, Science!
 
2012-09-10 12:59:50 AM  
Mars deposits life on earth..... earth goes to find life on mars.....and gives life back to a now dead planet. Awesome.
 
2012-09-10 01:15:37 AM  
should've stuck with Napster
 
2012-09-10 01:25:19 AM  
Reverse Andromeda Strain?
 
2012-09-10 02:33:49 AM  
From Wiki: "According to the myth, Pandora opened a jar (pithos), in modern accounts sometimes mistranslated as "Pandora's box" (see below), releasing all the evils of mankind - although the particular evils, aside from plagues and diseases, are not specified in detail by Hesiod - leaving only Hope inside once she had closed it again.[5] She opened the jar out of simple curiosity and not as a malicious act.[6]"

Well I'm now hoping for something terrible to occur that eventually will wipe out humankind. The few remaining survivors can laugh about the irony for whatever time they have left.
 
2012-09-10 05:06:12 AM  
I'm sorry but the 'planetary protection' people are almost a total waste of space, guarding against pretty much non-existent chances of nothing much happening, and making a career out of it. It is one thing to stop people polluting other bodies, another to create enormous castles of risk in the clouds, all founded on nothing.
 
2012-09-10 05:34:17 AM  
yay maybe we *will* get to fark up another planet in my life time =D
 
2012-09-10 06:01:51 AM  
How appropriate. I just watched Resident Evil last night.
 
2012-09-10 06:08:44 AM  
This emphasis on sterilization is overkill.
 
2012-09-10 06:08:58 AM  

gaspode: I'm sorry but the 'planetary protection' people are almost a total waste of space, guarding against pretty much non-existent chances of nothing much happening, and making a career out of it. It is one thing to stop people polluting other bodies, another to create enormous castles of risk in the clouds, all founded on nothing.


"Planetary Protection Officer" is an awesome job title though.
 
2012-09-10 06:19:10 AM  
f01.image.kz
 
2012-09-10 06:27:57 AM  

AlanSmithee: This emphasis on sterilization is overkill.


Except for when you're looking for signs of life on another planet. If they find microbial life, will it be pre-existing life on Mars, or microbes the probe brought from Earth? Kind of complicates that particular aspect of the mission, doesn't it?
 
2012-09-10 06:32:40 AM  

AlanSmithee: This emphasis on sterilization is overkill.


If I recall, its not entirely unfounded. They brought back parts from a Surveyor probe during the Apollo missions that had dormant bacteria on them.
if life did spread to Mars and survived, it would take decades to infect a large enough part of it to matter.
...And if its been infected, its probably already happened from past missions. We have microbes in our atmosphere so any probe heading out probably has gathered a few on it.

Really, the clock started ticking from the Viking missions. If we don't land and do a proper survey in the next decade or so, the chances of finding exclusively Martian microbes around current landing sites are going to drop.

/Realistically, the environment is much too harsh for earth bred bugs.
/I'll wager that any bacteria they find will be dormant like the ones on the moon.
 
2012-09-10 06:35:18 AM  
It's like the Andromeda Strain - only BACKWARDS?!
 
2012-09-10 06:37:39 AM  

Therion: Reverse Andromeda Strain?


Or it could be that too?
 
2012-09-10 06:48:45 AM  

Therion: Reverse Andromeda Strain?


Niarts Ademordna Eserever

Yes it is...
 
2012-09-10 06:53:36 AM  

jaybeezey: Therion: Reverse Andromeda Strain?

Niarts Ademordna Eserever

Yes it is...


No it isn't...
 
2012-09-10 06:54:46 AM  
verydemotivational.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-09-10 07:05:43 AM  

way south: AlanSmithee: This emphasis on sterilization is overkill.

If I recall, its not entirely unfounded. They brought back parts from a Surveyor probe during the Apollo missions that had dormant bacteria on them.
if life did spread to Mars and survived, it would take decades to infect a large enough part of it to matter.
...And if its been infected, its probably already happened from past missions. We have microbes in our atmosphere so any probe heading out probably has gathered a few on it.

Really, the clock started ticking from the Viking missions. If we don't land and do a proper survey in the next decade or so, the chances of finding exclusively Martian microbes around current landing sites are going to drop.

/Realistically, the environment is much too harsh for earth bred bugs.
/I'll wager that any bacteria they find will be dormant like the ones on the moon.


While we do have microbes in the atmosphere, they'll attach to the shell of the rocket that gets jettisoned after launch. No visible part of the rockets made it all the way to Mars, only the probes inside.
 
2012-09-10 07:48:36 AM  
only because Pandora is too busy buffering more commercials ...
 
2012-09-10 08:18:12 AM  
I would have thought the process of prolonged space travel and planetary re-entry would get that thing pretty sterile...
 
2012-09-10 08:18:43 AM  
No 'War of the Worlds' references? Fark, I am disappoint.
 
2012-09-10 08:33:25 AM  
i50.tinypic.com
 
2012-09-10 08:34:52 AM  
 
2012-09-10 08:38:07 AM  
SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE HERPES!
 
2012-09-10 08:55:26 AM  

ElecDrummer: SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE HERPES!


www.carlkingdom.com
 
2012-09-10 09:00:36 AM  

Guuberre: AlanSmithee: This emphasis on sterilization is overkill.

Except for when you're looking for signs of life on another planet. If they find microbial life, will it be pre-existing life on Mars, or microbes the probe brought from Earth? Kind of complicates that particular aspect of the mission, doesn't it?


Well shoot, too bad we can't do stuff like gene sequencing to figure out if something is closely related to terrestrial organisms.

Anyway, if life there is so fragile that truly alien microbiota can just sweep it away then it wasn't very good at what it does. I'm not sympathetic to the notion that we should leave everything undisturbed. We are a part of nature and we transform every environment we touch. It is what we do. The only question is whether we will deliberately or accidentally transform Mars.
 
2012-09-10 09:04:51 AM  
If it were me in charge. I'd contaminate the crap out of it, just to see what would happen to the microbes' descendants after a decade.
 
2012-09-10 09:08:51 AM  
And my nomination for the coolest job title to ever be able to put on your resume goes to Planetary Protection Officer Catharine Conley


solarsystem.nasa.gov
 
2012-09-10 09:11:08 AM  

r1niceboy: If it were me in charge. I'd contaminate the crap out of it, just to see what would happen to the microbes' descendants after a decade.


entiregospel.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-09-10 09:18:49 AM  

turboke: jaybeezey: Therion: Reverse Andromeda Strain?

Niarts Ademordna Eserever

Yes it is...

No it isn't...


Let me finishia

then take BACK the second to the last "E" in the backwards reverse to honor the Hebrew God, whose Ark this is...

They're digging on Mars in the wrong place!
 
2012-09-10 09:24:50 AM  
mars.jpl.nasa.gov
 
2012-09-10 10:20:32 AM  
we could just look it this as a chance to practice finding alien microbes despite there being contamination.
 
2012-09-10 10:32:01 AM  

Confabulat: If it was up to me, I'd load that sucker up with all sorts of filthy bugs and aim it right at the wettest spot on the planet and see what happens. God, motherfarkers, let's play it.


Sounds a lot like what I did with your mom last night...
 
2012-09-10 10:40:19 AM  

way south: /I'll wager that any bacteria they find will be dormant like the ones on the moon.


www.ohgizmo.com
 
M-G
2012-09-10 12:09:22 PM  
We definitely don't want to be drilling into any water... 

encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com
 
2012-09-10 12:09:59 PM  

gaspode: I'm sorry but the 'planetary protection' people are almost a total waste of space, guarding against pretty much non-existent chances of nothing much happening, and making a career out of it. It is one thing to stop people polluting other bodies, another to create enormous castles of risk in the clouds, all founded on nothing.


You dont think that bringing along life forms on a mission to find life would contaminate the results? Really?
 
2012-09-10 07:44:18 PM  
Why does this matter, again? I'd say finding life already there is less important than determining if life can live there at all. Give Earth bacteria a shot.

If we find other life in the universe, that's awesome. If we don't, then we should get to sowing our proverbial (and literal) oats as soon as possible.
 
2012-09-10 08:59:13 PM  

Alonjar: gaspode: I'm sorry but the 'planetary protection' people are almost a total waste of space, guarding against pretty much non-existent chances of nothing much happening, and making a career out of it. It is one thing to stop people polluting other bodies, another to create enormous castles of risk in the clouds, all founded on nothing.

You dont think that bringing along life forms on a mission to find life would contaminate the results? Really?


I think that applying good sense and using clean equipment is a good idea of course. I think spending many millions on an entire department to basically overanalyse everything possible and produce a mountain of paperwork and given endless press interviews and basically get in the way of DOING anything for no benefit is not. In this case sensible precautions were in fact followed, they didnt dip the drill bits in a petri dish of e-coli before sending them out there ffs.

Also this is not a mission to detect microbial lifeforms. If it was it would be a very different mission indeed.
 
2012-09-10 09:56:40 PM  
FTA: Conley, a microbiologist, said she learned about the unsealing of the box shortly before the launch. By then, it was too late to fix.

Other NASA officials said the decision to open the box of drill bits was a calculated risk.


this was an utterly wrong thing for them to do. research ethics are purely logical. Now, no discovery of bacterial life forms, or evidence of microbial life that the rover might find, can be considered uncontroversial. they've contaminated their own experiment, and it is sad. The people involved should be fired and denied any teaching or publicly funded science jobs for a massive breach in ethics and inability to follow basic lab procedures.
 
2012-09-10 10:13:24 PM  

Pinko_Commie: gaspode: I'm sorry but the 'planetary protection' people are almost a total waste of space, guarding against pretty much non-existent chances of nothing much happening, and making a career out of it. It is one thing to stop people polluting other bodies, another to create enormous castles of risk in the clouds, all founded on nothing.

"Planetary Protection Officer" is an awesome job title though.


If only earth had one...
 
2012-09-11 12:59:13 AM  
We should do everything we can to establish Earth life on other worlds. It may be the way we end up going to other worlds... We infect it then re-evolve back to humans after a few eons.
 
2012-09-11 12:59:53 AM  

r1niceboy: If it were me in charge. I'd contaminate the crap out of it, just to see what would happen to the microbes' descendants after a decade.


That's why you're not in charge.
 
2012-09-11 01:03:00 AM  
If you want to know why we can't have nice things, just read this thread. Modern people are unbearably stupid. They do not understand science at all. They think they do, though, and that's why we can't have nice things. Because a lot of these drooling shiatheads vote. And they won't vote for real science, because they don't understand it and think it's pointless.

Threads like this make me pray for killer asteroids.
 
2012-09-11 01:05:56 AM  

Sylvia_Bandersnatch: Threads like this make me pray for killer asteroids.


LOL. From space?
 
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