Space

Scientists notify that Alien organisms may obstruct a ride on spacecraft and pollute the Earth

Scientists notify that Alien organisms may obstruct a ride on spacecraft and pollute the Earth

Risk to the Earth-based Organisms

According to scientists, the increased demand for space travel increases the odds of extraterrestrial species infecting Earth and Earth-based organisms invading other worlds.

The researchers cite humanity’s history of introducing species to new habitats on Earth, where they can become invasive and harm existing species. This tendency shows that extraterrestrial life from another planet could contaminate Earth and vice versa.

Ricciardi and his colleagues collaborated more with astrobiologists looking for alien life and invasion biologists looking at invasive organisms on Earth. “We can only hypothesize on what kinds of species astrobiologists might encounter if they find life,” Ricciardi said. Microbial life-forms, which are most likely to resemble bacteria, are the most likely candidates.

Because of the severe conditions of space, experts believe the possibility of interplanetary contamination is exceedingly minimal. Potential hitchhiking organisms found it difficult to survive a voyage on the outside of a human spacecraft. However, because of the harmful effects that invading species have had on Earth, we should still be wary of interplanetary contamination, according to Ricciardi.

Humans have damaged ecosystems worldwide by allowing species to obstruct the new settings that they could never have found. For instance, Austropuccinia psidii, a fungus from South America, was imported to Australia under mysterious circumstances. This is encroaching on the country’s native eucalyptus trees, limiting their growth and killing them in certain cases.

Key Highlights by the Researchers

The Israeli Beresheet spacecraft, which crashed into the moon in 2019, was mentioned by the experts as evidence of interplanetary contamination. It carried thousands of tardigrades, microscopic critters that can withstand harsh circumstances, including space vacuum, as previously reported by Live Science

The animals would not have survived the impact of the lunar crash, according to a study published in the journal Astrobiology in 2021. However, the example illustrates the dangers of biological spills.

According to Ricciardi, space agencies such as NASA have been aware of the possible threats of biological contamination for a long time, and planetary protection measures have been in place since the 1960s. “However, space exploration’s new phase geared at aiming places most possibly to harbor life poses huge risks,” noted Ricciardi. As per the report, this comprises commercial space exploration businesses’ growth, such as SpaceX, making space more accessible.

Planets and moons have always transferred material via meteorites, but Jennifer Wadsworth, an astrobiologist at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland, believes that human space exploration could hasten contamination.

According to Wadsworth, the new report provides a “great overview” of the existing and ongoing need for strong and up-to-date planetary protection rules. Wadsworth told Live Science that one big issue is that present planetary preservation measures are not mandatory.

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