Re: SPACE: Lunar Ben&Jerrys?

Anders Sandberg (
Wed, 1 Jan 1997 16:21:28 +0100 (MET)

On Tue, 31 Dec 1996, Sean Morgan wrote:

> writes:
> >That makes me wonder if we could recover viable _Bacillus_ or _Clostridium_
> >spores (or mold ascospores) placed there accidently or by a microbiology
> >experiment. Is the Moon able to sterilize the Earthly spores?

No, I recall that one of the Apollo expeditions retrieved parts of one of
the earlier probes, and found viable spores and encysted bacteria inside
it after several years of exposure to the moon environment.

> Meteorites may have carried life from Mars to Earth. The reverse is less
> likely (uphill vs. downhill) but possible.
> Would it be possible for the Moon to harbor meteorites holding freeze-dried
> versions of extinct life from Earth? Would it have to be buried immediately
> to prevent cosmic radiation from scrambling it?

Interesting idea. I don't know if it can survive for megayears, but the
spread of at least some spores from the Earth into space seems reasonable.
The Mars microbes (if they are microbes) might be descended from Earth
stock. My guess is that in a solar system with one lifebearing planet
spores eventually get everywhere, but probably only take root in the few
other similar niches.

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y