56

Tardigrades can survive vacuum, low temperatures, and moderate radiation for quite a while. They're multicelled organisms. How tough is the toughest hypothetically viable single-celled extremophile? How sure are you that we've found all of them on Earth already? It's a matter of caution. Contamination of another planet (or moon) is likely to be irreversible,...


42

To keep an animal alive, a spacecraft needs to create conditions (e.g. temperature, pressure, concentrations of gases or electrolytes) within the animal's normal physiological range. We can recreate nearly any environment; however, the resources necessary to do this may be prohibitive. Thus, the answer to the question is that it may be possible, yet ...


27

tl;dr: There are "96 bags of poop, pee, and puke" on the Moon already! The bags of waste are ecosystems for sure, but like the ones you mentioned, they are not going to remain alive for very long. From Gizmodo's There's Poop on the Moon: There is, however, scientific value to the things left behind. Astrobiologists, for instance, hope to one day ...


25

So back in the summer of 1935, some folks down in Australia were having problems with a beetle's larvae that were nomming on the sugar cane roots and harming crops. Since traditional methods of getting rid of the pest failed, they decided a good approach would be to introduce a few cane toads to go eat the beetles... a hundred or so of them in a couple of ...


21

Apparently on August 21, 2011, NASA put together a report titled "Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis." that answers just that. Also found on Amazon for 1.99. This doesn't cover how a country would respond but how NASA would handle several scenarios to the idea. I'm guessing since NASA is heavily funded by the ...


21

The deciding factor is if the solar body has a chance of harboring life (or having done so in the past). Scientists don't want to run the risk of false positives: detecting life on another planet, only to find that we're the ones who brought it there. So probes sent to Mars are sterilized as best we can, while we don't sterilize probes to bodies that are ...


20

No. Look at the numbers: 10000 kg. => Your rocket 73420000000000000000000 kg. => The moon 5972200000000000000000000 kg. => The earth 1989000000000000000000000000000 kg. => The sun To put this to scale, the rocket has a similar mass towards the moon as that of one human cell towards a human. You can ...


19

If the search for life on Mars is a particular concern, I think putting boots on the ground would be devastating (or bring smashing success, depending on your perspective). When we send robotic probes to Mars, we do our best to send them sterile so as to not contaminate our search. If we send human beings, which contain far more microbial cells than human ...


18

The two extremes are the most-likely sources of death for creatures in space - weightlessness and the g-force of takeoff. Weightlessness could be a critical issue for any creature which relies totally on gravity for swallowing - it's likely that some bird species would not be able to properly eat or drink in space. In the long-term, it's likely that a few ...


16

Question: Why not bring cyanobacteria and fertilizer to the atmosphere of Venus to improve conditions for life there by producing oxygen ? ... Only a few scientists have speculated that thermoacidophilic extremophile microorganims might exist in the lower-temperature, acidic upper layers of the Venusian atmosphere. It has been speculated that the ...


15

There is a chamber at the German Aerospace Center designed to imitate the Martian environment. So far there are two published experiments showing that some organisms could survive in the chamber. An imitation of Martian regolith was used, and the organisms were exposed to an imitation of Martian atmosphere with the pressure, temperature range, moisture ...


14

Initially it looked like there was life, then that was dashed, but newer research might be indicative of life after all. From http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/mars/viking.html, back in 1976 we had: The 4 basic experiments that the Vikings carried out to search for evidence of life were: Gas Metabolism: look for changes in the atmosphere ...


13

Plants don't just need carbon dioxide; like most organisms, they need oxygen to survive as well. They can produce oxygen from carbon dioxide, but that doesn't help cells that aren't exposed to sunlight; if you put a plant in a very low-oxygen environment, it will die. There are organisms that can survive on little to no oxygen (e.g. cyanobacteria, which can ...


12

Within 100 light-years, there are approximately 14,600 stars. Many of these are not even known. It is difficult to determine exactly the number of star systems as opposed to stars. 113 star systems within 100 light-years are confirmed to have exoplanets in them (listed from nearest to furthest): Alpha Centauri B → cont'd ↓ → cont'd ↓ ...


12

First, some perspective. The impact of a single fragment of the Shoemaker-Levy comet on Jupiter released an estimated energy equivalent of six million megatons of TNT (approximately 600 times the size of the world's nuclear arsenal), leaving an impact scar that was visible for several months afterward. That was obviously a bad day for Jupiter, but that ...


12

No. SpaceX is a space launch company, not a genetic engineering company. That branch of science lies completely outside their research. Never mind the ethical aspect: the astronauts are volunteers, you don't breed people to produce 'optimal astronauts'! That's not to say if someone (some other company) comes up with this sort of adaptations, and people pick ...


12

Lugworms living in the sand below tidal sea waters. They need gravity to burrow in and feed from the tiny animals living between sand particles. They would survive some weeks without food. Starfish, sea urchin, sea cucumbers could not live in microgravity for longer time. They need the ocean floor to move and search for food. Starfish and sea urchins do not ...


11

On good authority (Steve Squyres, principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers): You know, I'm a robot guy, that's what I have spent most of my career doing, but I'm actually a very strong supporter of human spaceflight. I believe that the most successful exploration is going to be carried out by humans, not by robots. What Spirit and ...


11

Assuming that by signal you mean radio signals, there were many attempts. All this has already been described in detail on Wikipedia, so I'm not inclined to repeat it. What you are looking for is available in these two pages: Active Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (Active SETI) Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI). Probably ...


11

NASA made the record from stable, inert materials, and placed it in the vacuum of space where erosion is not an issue. The record sits underneath an aluminium cover. The only sources of decay are cosmic radiation and the interplanetary/interstellar medium. Cosmic radiation takes a long, long time to create visible distortion (basically it affects an area one ...


11

Early Mars probes were heavily sterilized. Further studies have shown that Mars's surface isn't habitable, at least not in most areas, and thus a low risk approach has been developed, where certain sensitive parts are carefully controlled (Usually robotic arms), and missions to certain interesting places (Such as locations where liquid water is suspected) ...


10

Dr. Tore Straume of NASA's BioSciences Division actually published a paper on this very topic. Titled: "Radiation Hazards and the Colonization of Mars: Brain, Body, Pregnancy, In-Utero Development, Cardio, Cancer, Degeneration" The study conducted by them concluded that the Space radiation negatively affects Male fertility. The Cosmic Radiation during ...


10

The experiment Growth and Survival of Colored Fungi in Space (CFS-A) - 12.07.16 showed that: fungi can grow inside the space station and could decompose food and other organic materials in humid conditions. After exposure to air growth stopped, fungal hairs (filaments) developed within the food source and decomposed it by producing digesting enzymes. ...


10

The rover already has a core drill for this purpose: it drills through the top layers and exposes the rock underneath. The big advantage of a drill over a shovel is that a drill can go through (most) rock types, whereas a shovel can only scrape off loose rubble. A shovel is an imprecise instrument: you run a straight edge over the soil. The depth of that ...


10

Humans have already been to the Moon, and pretty much verified it is completely sterile. It isn't really an issue bringing plants to the Moon, it couldn't contaminate anything, as there is nothing there it could really affect. Besides, anything complex couldn't survive in a vacuum, and there's been plenty of bacteria that have been on the Moon from the ...


10

According to Jainism and some forms of Buddhism, the concept of Ahisma tell us that it not ethical to bring an ecosystem of living creatures to an environment that will almost assuredly kill them as a result of you bringing them there. Ahinsā (Ahinsā) in Jainism is a fundamental principle forming the cornerstone of its ethics and doctrine. The term ...


9

The first message in the history of humanity was: "Мир, Ленин, СССР". The English translation being, "World, Lenin, USSR". A lot of people will try to bring up that "мир" actually has two meanings, the second one being "peace". My opinion is, that in this case, it only means "world", or in stricto sensu "Universe". It was long ago, in 1962, when this radio ...


9

For my money, I'd go with Jupiter's moon Europa. First, it has a thin oxygen atmosphere, and oxygen, as we've found, is not something normally found hanging around by itself. Given any chance, it bonds with natural "oxygen sinks" like iron and silicon. Europa has quite a bit of silica as well, and yet there's free oxygen in the atmosphere. We have deduced ...


9

Because radio waves in space follow the inverse square law, it would require an exceptionally large antenna to pull in enough of an ordinary radio signal to actually notice it, let alone get any useful data. Consider that a typical radio signal is designed for distances measured in miles. TV broadcasts disappear into the noise within about 100 miles from ...


9

All life as we know it requires liquid water as a medium (a polar solvent) in which the chemistry of life can take place. Mars surface conditions pretty much preclude the existence of liquid water. The atmospheric pressure is at or below the triple point of water, meaning that water can only exist as ice or gas (vapor). Even though Martian soil probably ...


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