What Happens When Tesla Roadster Contaminates Mars (Or Other Planets) With Bacteria From Earth?

By Allan Adamson | Mar 05, 2018 10:04 PM EST

Scientists are raising their concern over the space-cruising red Tesla car. They fear that Elon Musk's car brings a large horde of bacteria from Earth that may contaminate Mars.

What Would Happen If Humans Contaminate Mars Or Other Planets?

Contaminating another world is one of the things that NASA wants to avoid and for good reason. If Earth microbes are introduced to and survive on a planet such as Mars, scientists searching for signs of life in these worlds may mistake those bacteria for little organisms that originated from Mars. Such a misinterpretation will have a significant impact on how humans would view their place in the universe.

In worlds with high chances of hosting microbial life such as Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's Enceladus, contamination would mean that microbes from Earth would interact with the organisms that could be thriving there.

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This could have devastating consequences as suggested by what happens on ecosystems here on Earth after invasive species are introduced into parts of the worlds where they did not originally exist.

A new and aggressive species that is introduced into a new ecosystem may have not natural predators or controls. This means that they can breed and spread quickly, and take over an area. The native species may not have the defenses needed to protect themselves from the invader or are unable to compete with a species that has no predators.

"The direct threats of invasive species include preying on native species, outcompeting native species for food or other resources, causing or carrying disease, and preventing native species from reproducing or killing a native species' young," the National Wildlife Federation explained.

Microbes hitching a ride from planet Earth may have these effects on other worlds.

NASA's Planetary Protection, which was established to promote responsible exploration of the solar system, explained why humans must not contaminate other worlds.

"Planetary protection is essential for several important reasons: to preserve our ability to study other worlds as they exist in their natural states; to avoid contamination that would obscure our ability to find life elsewhere - if it exists; and to ensure that we take prudent precautions to protect Earth's biosphere in case it does," it stated.

Odds Of Contaminating Other Worlds

Fortunately, scientists said that the odds of the space Tesla crashing on planet Mars or other planets such as Venus, and possibly contaminating them is small.

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