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

From: Michael Lorrey (
Date: Tue Mar 13 2001 - 15:52:30 MST

Neal Blaikie wrote:
> Perhaps the concern here is that if there is life (micriobial or
> otherwise) under the surface of Europa, exposing it to Earth microbes
> could possibly harm or destroy it. If this happened, it would not only be
> an awful way to say hello (so to speak) but also would limit (or at least
> severely change) our ability to study these lifeforms and learn something
> new. Now, if, as you suggest, Europa may have already been exposed to
> Earth microbes, well, that changes the equation, but only slightly.
> Depends on how long ago this occurred, what kinds of microbes we're
> talking about, how their introduction affected things over time, etc. Who
> knows? There's an awful lot of long shots involved here. Why not show a
> little foresight and plan for all contingencies? Seems sensible to me.

Sure its sensible, however, they don't seem to even discuss the
possibility, so they don't seem to be planning for all contingencies.
Making sure the probe is microbe free, of course, would demonstrate that
any microbes found there that were sufficiently similar to those of
earth would be evidence it had been seeded from earth in the past (or
vice versa).

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