Re: Lunar Ben & Jerrys

Brian D Williams (
Thu, 2 Jan 1997 14:19:04 -0800 (PST)

>> 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.

>NASA had a policy to sterilize everything sent into space, so we
>would 1) not confuse _our own_ contamination for new life and
>2) we would not grow our our bacteria, yeasts, molds, in new
>places. So much for _that_ theory.


The earlier poster remembers correctly, I read about this too.
Apollo 12 visited the landing site of Surveyor 3, and numerous
parts of the spacecraft were returned to earth. As I recall inside
a camera lens a spore was found that when placed in a suitable
growing media was once again viable.

The NASA report on the returned materials is NASA SP-284, which is
unfortunately not available on the WWW.

I do not know if the NASA policy about sterilization was in place
at the time of the Surveyor launch.