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Sun Sep 9, 2012, 11:06 PM

NASA hopes the Mars rover doesn't find water

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-mars-contaminate-20120910,0,365701.story

If the Mars rover finds water, it could be H2 ... uh oh!
If Curiosity locates H2O, a simmering NASA controversy will boil over. The rover's drill bits may be tainted with Earth microbes that could survive upon touching water.
By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times

For all the hopes NASA has pinned on the rover it deposited on Mars last month, one wish has gone unspoken: Please don't find water.

But if by chance the rover Curiosity does find H2O, a controversy that has simmered at NASA for nearly a year will burst into the open. Curiosity's drill bits may be contaminated with Earth microbes. If they are, and if those bits touch water, the organisms could survive. The possible contamination of the drill bits occurred six months before the rover's launch last Nov. 26 ...

About 250,000 bacterial spores throughout Curiosity are assumed to have survived the landing, officials said. Nearly all of them are believed to have perished within minutes of exposure to the harsh Martian conditions in Gale Crater freezing temperatures, intense ultraviolet radiation and an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide.

But scientists have learned in recent years that some Earth life forms can live in space and in at least some of the conditions found on Mars. The European Space Agency discovered that lichens launched on a Russian Soyuz rocket in 2005 survived several days of full exposure to the vacuum of space and ultraviolet and cosmic radiation. ...


36 replies, 3910 views

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply NASA hopes the Mars rover doesn't find water (Original post)
jsr Sep 2012 OP
nanabugg Sep 2012 #1
Posteritatis Sep 2012 #3
eqfan592 Sep 2012 #4
Odin2005 Sep 2012 #7
Missycim Sep 2012 #33
yawnmaster Sep 2012 #30
JesterCS Sep 2012 #2
Ellipsis Sep 2012 #5
ThoughtCriminal Sep 2012 #28
teddy51 Sep 2012 #6
Speck Tater Sep 2012 #8
librechik Sep 2012 #21
Speck Tater Sep 2012 #27
librechik Sep 2012 #29
enlightenment Sep 2012 #9
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2012 #10
NYC Liberal Sep 2012 #11
SoCalDem Sep 2012 #12
enlightenment Sep 2012 #24
NYC Liberal Sep 2012 #31
enlightenment Sep 2012 #36
librechik Sep 2012 #13
Posteritatis Sep 2012 #26
randome Sep 2012 #14
boston bean Sep 2012 #34
Javaman Sep 2012 #15
Evasporque Sep 2012 #16
randome Sep 2012 #17
Major Nikon Sep 2012 #18
ornotna Sep 2012 #19
Marrah_G Sep 2012 #20
annabanana Sep 2012 #22
edbermac Sep 2012 #23
SWTORFanatic Sep 2012 #25
jp11 Sep 2012 #32
JaneyVee Sep 2012 #35

Response to jsr (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 11:11 PM

1. Well we humans have screwed up earth.why not mars...nobody lives there.

 

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Response to nanabugg (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 11:13 PM

3. And another NASA thread hauled into kneejerk misanthropy on the first response. (nt)

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 11:16 PM

4. Yep, happens every time.

Sad, really.

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Response to nanabugg (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 11:30 PM

7. This misanthropic BS is so predictable.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #7)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 08:07 AM

33. I think he was

 

joking.

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Response to nanabugg (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 04:28 PM

30. We haven't screwed up Earth and can't except by perhaps some nuclear means...

what we can screw up is an environment that humans enjoy.
The Earth will survive long after we are gone, at least until the sun explodes and destroys all life...
and at that point nothing we've done or haven't done matters.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 11:13 PM

2. and so begins, an epic tale of the evolution of martians

put on this Planet Mars by the divine spirits of Earth =p

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Response to JesterCS (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 11:16 PM

5. Bolero

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Response to Ellipsis (Reply #5)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 03:39 PM

28. Allegro Non Troppo

A brilliant Italian parody of Disney's "Fantasia"


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegro_Non_Troppo

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 11:27 PM

6. If there is life on Mars, and we presented any kind of danger to them, we would have

 

been blowen to hell and back by now!

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Response to teddy51 (Reply #6)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 12:11 AM

8. Nah. If there were intelligent aliens that wanted to get rid of humans...

 

...they would just put some kind of undetectable contraceptive gas into the atmosphere and wait 75 years for humans to die out. Stealthy. No need for open invasion. No casualties on their side. Low cost for them. And humans wouldn't have a clue that the aliens even existed, let alone that they had successfully invaded earth.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #8)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 12:37 PM

21. or invent birth control pills which leach into the ground water and turn everybody into a girl

Being a girl, I prefer that....

Wait, that's already happening! Curse you Martians! Curse your desirable and deadly birth control pills!

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Response to librechik (Reply #21)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 01:50 PM

27. Wouldn't work.

 

Women are too resourceful. They'd figure out how to reproduce without the bother of having us men around.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #27)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 03:55 PM

29. lol

we could--but we'd miss you boys too much! We'd set things right, as we are wont to do (when allowed)

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 12:46 AM

9. I'm confused.

The majority of the article talks about how the drill bit (and Curiosity) could be contaminated with hundreds of thousands of microbes - to the point that it shouldn't be allowed to get near water or ice because the microbes might have survived the launch, the trip, and the conditions on the planet.

Then, toward the end, it discusses Curiosity's next mission - to drill into a rock at Glenelg Intrigue. It says:

Sometime next month, NASA scientists are expected to select a rock at Glenelg Intrigue and bore into it with the drill, which will then transfer aspirin-size samples of powder from the rock into science instruments housed in the belly of the rover. Conley has no concerns that the experiment will contaminate the site because she believes any surviving organisms will die swiftly.


Note that last sentence. Dr. Conley - the Planetary Protection Officer who was not consulted about mounting the drill bit and so changed the mission to keep Curiosity away from ice and water (by the way - I totally love that title) - says that she is unconcerned about the experiment contaminating the site because "any surviving organisms will die swiftly."

Okay . . . so why the hand-wringing about possibly drilling into the ground and hitting water? It sounds like the microbes are doomed anyway.

I'm confused!

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #9)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 12:52 AM

10. That is the controversy

one side is saying, ooops, the other is saying, no, not really.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #9)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 05:02 AM

11. As I understood it...

they won't survive long...unless they are introduced to water, in which case they could potentially survive and thrive in the water. If they aren't exposed to water they will die off.

That drilling at Glenelg Intrigue isn't scheduled for another month.

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Response to NYC Liberal (Reply #11)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 05:06 AM

12. So.. they are afraid the Martians will sue us for contamination?

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Response to NYC Liberal (Reply #11)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 12:54 PM

24. So, if that's the fear wouldn't

it be reasonable to deliberately drill some rocks first and kill the bacteria? Are they one use only drills?

I know I'm over-simplifying; it just seems like there should be a more sensible solution than "don't go near the water/ice" (assuming Curiosity finds it).

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #24)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 07:47 AM

31. The folks over at NASA are a lot smarter than I am with this stuff, so

I honestly don't know.

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Response to NYC Liberal (Reply #31)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 11:23 AM

36. Sorry - that last post was more of a

thinking 'out loud' rather than an expectation that you know all the details of what NASA does.

Sometimes my curiosity overwhelms my good sense.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 11:14 AM

13. check this out--a former insurance investigator examines/analyzes Mars satellite photos

Last edited Mon Sep 10, 2012, 02:05 PM - Edit history (1)

http://www.marsanomalyresearch.com/

The most obvious thing he noticed (and anyone w photoshop experience can see once it's pointed out) is the vast computerized tampering on the official images released to the public. In fact he's pretty bitterly obsessed about the tampering.

But there's so much data, occasionally they miss things. Now those "misses" are interesting indeed.

such as this:
http://www.marsanomalyresearch.com/evidence-reports/2012/221/real-mars.htm

I'm open minded, but I suppose this info is hard to swallow. I expect the usual forum skeptics to pounce on me and rip Skipper's site to shreds.

I just think it's interesting, and more research needs to be done.
On edit:
thanks for the correction on Skipper's background

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Response to librechik (Reply #13)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 01:29 PM

26. Uh, he spent his career in the insurance industry, not NASA. (nt)

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 11:20 AM

14. NASA has spent more than 30 years on Mars trying to find evidence of life.

Each time they think they find something, it's never incontrovertible proof so another mission is planned.

We have a fucking tin can in orbit about Earth doing 'experiments' and yet another attempt to prove -really, REALLY prove this time- that life exists on Mars.

I am sick to death of the half-assed 'adventures' we have had to endure. If they can't get the fucking proof with robots, it's time to send a team of humans.

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Response to randome (Reply #14)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 08:13 AM

34. If these microbes survive, isn't that proof enough of life on mars.

Even if they only survive a short time.

There was life on the moon at one time too.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 11:51 AM

15. Personally, I welcome our earth spawned mars microbe overlords. nt

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 11:59 AM

16. Flesh Eating Slime Mold from Space...

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Response to Evasporque (Reply #16)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 12:02 PM

17. Go on! Poke it with a stick! I dare you!

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 12:18 PM

18. Repost

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #18)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 12:31 PM

19. It's terminal



Funny stuff.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #18)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 12:33 PM

20. Love it!

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 12:39 PM

22. Listen.. If a stray microbe could eventually render Mars habitable

Maybe the last remaining Humans from our self-destroyed Earth could migrate. (Or migrate BACK . Perhaps we've been going back and forth all along)

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 12:54 PM

23. Thank God they didn't send a probe to Uranus.

Yes I know...very juvenile.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 12:56 PM

25. Maybe the microbes could terraform Mars.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 08:04 AM

32. And so the war with mars began

not with a missle or an asteroid flung at one of the bodies but with germ warfare.

Remember this day fellow earthicans we threw the first punch and we did it with a small car sized robot and dirty drill bits.

USA! USA! USA!

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 09:23 AM

35. What if humans are just evolved microbes left over from drill-bit contamination by ancient aliens?

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