Recently launched into space, Tesla electric car is able to transport one of the Earth forms of life to the planet Mars, scientists believe.
The owner of the Space X Elon Musk sent his dark-cherry personal car into orbit with the help of the superheavy launch rocket in late January.
According to NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection, any spacecraft, intending landing on other planets, is sterilized, but since the car landing anywhere was not planned, it was treated in line with requirements. And even if, it would be cleaned from the outside, after all, the car was assembled at the factory in the non-lab environment. That means the engine and other mechanisms are still well “stuffed” with bacteria.
And if the plans will fail and electrocar dives to the Red planet or other object in the solar system?
“If there is an indigenous Mars biota, it’s at risk of being contaminated by terrestrial life,” comments Jay Melosh, a professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences at Purdue University.
It is certainly not known whether bacteria from the Earth would be able to adapt and capture Martian territory.
Nevertheless, another fact is encouraging. Extreme temperatures, low pressure, and cosmic radiation make it difficult for microorganisms to survive, but do not always kill them. Some types of bacteria peacefully “asleep” in the vacuum space and wake up when conditions are favorable.
Melosh’s colleague of Melosh, professor Alina Alexeenko said that “the load of bacteria on the Tesla could be considered a biothreat, or a backup copy of life on Earth.”
Alekseenko’s point of view is firmly based on her experience in the laboratory of Purdue University, specializing in long-term preservation of bacteria using drying and freezing technologies. Microorganisms undergo conditions similar to cosmic, and perfectly cope with them.
Well, while scientists discuss if the Tesla roadster could play the role of Trojan horse and would infect the Mars with earth micro-aliens, we can trace the movements of Roadster in starry wilds here