Sunday, January 11, 2009

Real science: First terrans to blast off for Mars later this year!!!

Microbes, not humans. Intend to do a round trip - travel to Mars system but not land there, then return safely back to earth!

Leonard David's "Earth Life Headed for Mars Moon" at on Russia's "Phobos-Grunt" Mars mission - due October 2009 launch, & scheduled to arrive at Mars in August 2010. Ship will eventually return back to earth! Among the multiple payloads are 3 mentioned in the article:

  1. A landing on Phobos to pick up local samples, & to return them to earth.
  2. Deploy 'a Chinese sub-satellite -Yinghuo-1 meaning "Firefly-1" - that will gauge the Martian past in terms of how surface water on the red planet did a disappearing act.'
  3. Test if living things can travel from earth to Mars, & return back alive. Small microbes will be passengers - specifics yet to be concluded, but '"a natural soil colony of microbes" will be included.'
There is much discussion in the article on possibility of "contaminating" Mars with earth life, & a single argument on why such contamination is a bad idea ("thus confusing future searches for life on Mars").

PS: I have an Arthur Clarke story of cross-planet bacterial contamination horror lined up for posting; should appear during the coming week.

Related: Stories set on Mars; on Phobos.

[via Futurismic]