Should we stop looking for extraterrestrial bacteria in the

Page 1 of 1 [ 10 posts ] 

Jitro
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 May 2012
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Posts: 589

22 Dec 2012, 9:53 pm

Should we stop looking for extraterrestrial bacteria in the solar system?


Because if we were to discover it, and we came in contact with such, it would wipe out most terrestrial life.



Fnord
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 May 2008
Gender: Male
Posts: 43,978
Location: Stendec

22 Dec 2012, 9:59 pm

Jitro wrote:
Should we stop looking for extraterrestrial bacteria in the solar system?

Who is this 'We' of whom you speak? AFAIK, only robots and scientists have any access to extra-terrestrial materials.

Jitro wrote:
Because if we were to discover it, and we came in contact with such, it would wipe out most terrestrial life.

Evidence, please?

Preferably, something other than an old re-run of "The Andromeda Strain".

:roll:


_________________
 
Since there is no singular, absolute definition of human nature,
nor any ultimate evaluation of human nature beyond that which we project onto others,
individuals should be judged or defined only by their actions and choices,
and not by what we only imagine their intentions and motivations to be.


Tensu
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Age: 31
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,661
Location: Nixa, MO, USA

22 Dec 2012, 10:25 pm

Would the bacteria recognize us as potential hosts? When the Spainish introduced european diseases to the new world, the human population was devastated. The ocelot and tapir populations? not so much.

Would the bacteria have any kind of defense against our immune system? Our lymphocytes would be just as alien to them as they would be to is.

Would the bacteria be able to survive in our atmosphere? Some microorganisms here on Terra can by poisoned by oxygen. Who's to say an alien microbe will even be able to survive on Terra?

How do we know the extraterrestrial bacteria is even pathogenic? There are probably millions of bacteria entering your body right now, put they aren't making you sick because they're not the right kind or your lymphocytes are "eating" them all.

Besides, most attempts to contact alien life are being done via robotic drones that we do not intend to return to Earth, so there is no risk of infection.



Misslizard
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Jun 2012
Age: 56
Gender: Female
Posts: 14,212
Location: Aux Arcs

22 Dec 2012, 10:33 pm

It will find it's way here eventually.



ruveyn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Age: 84
Gender: Male
Posts: 31,502
Location: New Jersey

22 Dec 2012, 10:43 pm

Jitro wrote:
Should we stop looking for extraterrestrial bacteria in the solar system?


Because if we were to discover it, and we came in contact with such, it would wipe out most terrestrial life.


We might want to study such organisms in situ, where they are found, rather than bring them back home to study.

If studied in situ there is little chance of spreading any possible diseases here on earth.

ruveyn



Pileo
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 Dec 2011
Age: 31
Gender: Male
Posts: 523

22 Dec 2012, 11:38 pm

As others have said... If bacteria is discovered, it would be discovered by one of our rovers which have built-in testing equipment. We're still yet to figure out to bring the rovers back to Earth. They're gonna stay wherever we shot them at until we decide to go to them.

So, should we stop? Hell no. If there is life elsewhere our solar system, could you imagine how much life is beyond our solar system? There are trillions and trillions of stars. Many of them multiple planets swirling around them. Such knowledge would shake the foundation in which our civilization has been built and would be considered one of the most greatest discoveries in the history of mankind. Churches will temporarily lose control of their bowel movements!



LKL
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Jul 2007
Age: 44
Gender: Female
Posts: 7,402

23 Dec 2012, 4:43 am

When a novel species is introduced to a new environment, one of three things happens:
1)Very, very rarely, the species will fit itself into a previously unoccupied niche and increase the local diversity by one species. The ring-necked pheasant has been suggested as an example of this.
2)Most commonly - almost always - the new species either dies immediately due to conditions that it cannot handle (such as the aforementioned oxygen) or is incapable of reproduction in the new environment due to fragile life stages. Any species that anyone has failed to successfully cultivate is representative of this.
3)Not rarely enough, the new species finds the new environment amicable and, lacking the constraints (such as predators, parasites, or disease) that kept it in check in the old environment, it overpopulates and becomes an invasive species that either out-competes or actively kills off the local species. The brown tree snake on Guam is a paradigmatic example of this.



ruveyn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Age: 84
Gender: Male
Posts: 31,502
Location: New Jersey

23 Dec 2012, 5:48 am

Tensu wrote:
Would the bacteria recognize us as potential hosts? When the Spainish introduced european diseases to the new world, the human population was devastated. The ocelot and tapir populations? not so much.

Would the bacteria have any kind of defense against our immune system? Our lymphocytes would be just as alien to them as they would be to is.

Would the bacteria be able to survive in our atmosphere? Some microorganisms here on Terra can by poisoned by oxygen. Who's to say an alien microbe will even be able to survive on Terra?

How do we know the extraterrestrial bacteria is even pathogenic? There are probably millions of bacteria entering your body right now, put they aren't making you sick because they're not the right kind or your lymphocytes are "eating" them all.

Besides, most attempts to contact alien life are being done via robotic drones that we do not intend to return to Earth, so there is no risk of infection.


Every organism that is harmful to man has co-evolved with man.

It is possible that our immune system would not destroy an alien organism not base on DNA or RNA.

If humans ever come into contact with non-DNA, non-RNA life forms they will have to be very careful about isolating such life forms before said life forms are actively studied. Once we get passive observation we have tear apart the organisms we are studying and that is probably the most hazardous phase.

ruveyn



0_equals_true
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 5 Apr 2007
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Posts: 11,038
Location: London

23 Dec 2012, 6:17 am

Conditions, would have to be pretty similar to earth, to be adapted enough. They would be extremophiles.

It is difficult to speculate however, I think it can be done responsibly and with bio-containment measures,.

Also we talk of bacteria like, not necessarily bacteria, but microbial. The reason is this is what is likely to survive in minimal situations.

In such situations, these environments would probably be more vulnerable to us than we are to them. When there is minimal to no diversity, life is vulnerable. It happened on earth, cryno-bacteria nearly completely eradicated life on earth, itself. Too much oxygen = snow ball earth. It was only by tolerating extremes that life continued,

When people talk about life on many planets, they are not necessarily saying it cover the whole planet, it could literally be one puddle of primordial soup



ruveyn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Age: 84
Gender: Male
Posts: 31,502
Location: New Jersey

23 Dec 2012, 10:59 am

0_equals_true wrote:
Conditions, would have to be pretty similar to earth, to be adapted enough. They would be extremophiles.

It is difficult to speculate however, I think it can be done responsibly and with bio-containment measures,.

Also we talk of bacteria like, not necessarily bacteria, but microbial. The reason is this is what is likely to survive in minimal situations.

In such situations, these environments would probably be more vulnerable to us than we are to them. When there is minimal to no diversity, life is vulnerable. It happened on earth, cryno-bacteria nearly completely eradicated life on earth, itself. Too much oxygen = snow ball earth. It was only by tolerating extremes that life continued,

When people talk about life on many planets, they are not necessarily saying it cover the whole planet, it could literally be one puddle of primordial soup


What would be interesting (and potentially very dangerous to us) is live NOT based on DNA or RNA. However we are very unlikely to find that in our solar system. If we ever go among the stars, we might find something surprising and rather dangerous too.

ruveyn