Re: SPACE: Contaminating Europa, was: Greens on Space

From: Chuck Kuecker (
Date: Wed Mar 14 2001 - 05:37:46 MST

At 09:16 PM 3/13/01 -0800, you wrote:

>I figure earth-based microbes have as much chance of out-
>competing Europa microbes asEuropa microbes have of
>contaminating earth. They evolved there, they have home
>field advantage. I doubt we pose a realistic risk. spike

Dare we take even the smallest avoidable risk? Sterilization of the probe
should be a fairly simple matter...sterilize every part upon delivery,
build the works in an isolation room (positive pressure!), seal it in a
plastic cover before transport to the launch vehicle. I am assuming the
probe would be shuttle launched, or inside a fairing for the boost phase.

I recall talk of the early Mars probes being possibly contaminated and
giving erroneous results in the onboard bio tests...

Chuck Kuecker

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