Martians Could Kill Life On Earth, Says Scientist
Just another boring rerun of Orson Welles' dramatic 1938 radio presentation of War of the Worlds? Not so.
Dr. John Murray, UK lead scientist with Europe's Mars Express mission, has stated that he has good reason to believe that life - bacteria potentially deadly to humans - has survived on Mars in the frozen subsurface water near its equator. Readers should note that the story was apparently first reported in the UK's The Sun, one of London's better-known peer-reviewed science journals. (Okay, it's actually more of a 'tabloid' - but if Physics Letters A didn't have institutional support, they might also need to have a 'Superbabes' section.)
(Innocent seep of liquid water on Mars -
or deadly load of killer aliens?)
According to the story, Dr. Murray believes that it is possible that Martian microbes could be lying dormant just under the surface. He recommends that exploring rockets should blast open an access hole, freeing ancient Martian ice.
"Then we could land a follow-up probe to scoop up the soil, put it under a microscope and add water...
"Both NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) plan to bring samples of Mars 48 million miles back to Earth in the next decade to be studied in a lab. That is where the danger lies," said Dr. Murray.
Microbes have been reawakened after more than thirty-two thousand frozen in Arctic ice. If bacteria were brought back to Earth from Mars, we would not have any immunity. Dr. Murray is quoted as saying "The only danger is if we brought it back and it escaped, we could have a War Of The Worlds situation."
(The world reacts - in 1938)
Any thoughts, Mr. Wells?
Yet so vain is man, and so blinded by his vanity, that no writer, up to the very end of the nineteenth century, expressed any idea that intelligent life might have developed there far, or indeed at all, beyond its earthly level. Nor was it generally understood that since Mars is older than our earth, with scarcely a quarter of the superficial area and remoter from the sun, it necessarily follows that it is not only more distant from time's beginning but nearer its end.
(War of the Worlds)
It's likely that Dr. Murray, a Research Fellow at the UK's Open University, is voicing a concern that proper care be taken if missions to Mars ever return with materials from the Red Planet. He has previously remarked "The fact that there have been warm and wet places beneath the surface of Mars since before life began on Earth, and that some are probably still there, means that there is a possibility that primitive micro-organisms survive on Mars today."
Interested in science fiction in the news stories?
Read The Sun.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/12/2006)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion (Back On) ( 5 )
Related News Stories -
The Interplanetary Internet, Vint Cerf Speaking
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'- George O. Smith, 1942.
30-Day Trip To Mars?
'The Federation Ship Champion... made the crossing under Lyle Drive in only nineteen days.'- Robert Heinlein, 1961.
The Atacama Large Millimeter Array - And Fred Hoyle
'Scientifically it would all make a lot more sense in Chile.'- Sir Fred Hoyle, 1973.
Students! NASA's Space Radiation Challenge Is On
'The rocket-water tanks - all around us... that saved us?'- John W. Campbell, 1936.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
MIT Robot Cheetah Video Shows Gait Transition
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's.'
TrackingPoint Smart Rifle
Not your typical 'smart bullet' approach.
'Hello, Computer!' Google Now Highlighted at IO13
Sky City's 220 Stories Are Go
'It rested among green parklands and... stood in total isolation, a glittering block of whites and flashing windows dotted with colors.'
CARMAT Bioprosthetic Total Human Heart Replacement
'George Walt's corporate existence proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'
Personal Sniffer Robots
'...The ticking combinations of the olfactory system of the hound.'
Physical Exam? We've Got Apps
See the future of handheld, personal medical devices.
The Interplanetary Internet, Vint Cerf Speaking
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'
Drosophila Robotica, The Mechanical Fly
'... the Scarab [flying robot] buzzed into the great workroom as any intruding insect might...'
Robo-Raven Flapping Wing Robot Bird
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'
Japan's Nursing Home Robot Plan
Let's make the Roujin Z-0001 Robotic Bed!
Samsung Smart TVs With Gesture Control
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'
Swiss HCPVT Giant Photovoltaic 'Flower'
'...leaning against one of the slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector.'
Mini-Livers Made By 3D Printer
Organleggers may experience an employment downturn.
Smartphone Sensor System Tracks Gunfire
'Sound trackers on the roof could zero in on weapons action...'
Bacteria Now Make Biofuel Like Oil
'They have ... germs that eat pretty near anything, and produce oil as a waste product.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories