Bacteria in Spaaace

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PolakoVoador
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Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby PolakoVoador » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:09 pm UTC

We are ever founding bacteria everywhere around here on Earth. Those pesky bastards can live almost anywhere. This led me to the following questions:

1) Is it possible that any of our space vehicles (space stations, Moon landers, Mars rovers...) took with them some crazy bacteria that somehow could survive/mutate enough to survive in said environments? Rewording: is it possible/plausible for a current bacteria from earth to naturally adapt for life in space, surface of the Moon, etc?

2) Given our current knowledge of genetics, is it theorethically possible to "create" a bacteria strand capable of surviving, say, on the surface of the Moon?

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davidstarlingm
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Re: Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:16 pm UTC

Is "theorethically" a typo, or an amazing portamanteau?

I personally don't see how it's possible for bacteria to survive and multiply without a liquid medium of some kind.

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PolakoVoador
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Re: Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby PolakoVoador » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:29 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:Is "theorethically" a typo, or an amazing portamanteau?

I personally don't see how it's possible for bacteria to survive and multiply without a liquid medium of some kind.


It is a non-native English speaker trying to spell theoretical :P

EDIT: hell, I'm still not sure if I got it right

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Re: Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:47 pm UTC

Not only is it possible, but it's highly, HIGHLY probable.

One of the issues with one of the Curiosity was that some drill used for searching for life was unpackaged ahead of schedule, leading to it's almost certain contamination. Many of the sterilization techniques we utilize for this stuff has been shown to not actually kill a couple of stupidly hardy species.

Not sure if you saw this:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... lean-rooms

Or this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiotrophic_fungus

But there's probably some forms of life that nigh on unkillable sans blanketing the surface area with other faster growing lifeforms.

EDIT: Your question though was 'can they grow on the Moon'. That is highly unlikely. Life as we know it requires at least some moisture. Many sporulating single celled critters (and water bears... those assholes) can probably survive a stint on the moon, but not subsist.
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Re: Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby Angua » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:52 pm UTC

Crabtree's bludgeon: “no set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated”
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Re: Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby PossibleSloth » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:59 pm UTC

Ninja'd on the clean room bacteria


But these are bacteria. No way could a multicellular animal survive the hostile environment of space...

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Re: Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:14 pm UTC

PossibleSloth wrote:Ninja'd on the clean room bacteria


But these are bacteria. No way could a multicellular animal survive the hostile environment of space...

False
EDIT: Did not see your link. I am dumb.
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Re: Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby Jplus » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:39 am UTC

I'm a bit concerned... why are exceptionally sturdy organisms called "pesky bastards" or "assholes"? Did they hurt anyone by being sturdy??
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Re: Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:52 pm UTC

They make things like drilling into Lake Vostok or searching for life on Mars difficult.

They also remind us that we aren't as in supreme control as we think we are.
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Re: Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby PolakoVoador » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:31 pm UTC

Thanks for the links guys :D I've never heard of the clean-room-bacteria before.

So, we've potentially sent bacteria all over the place, but no chance for them to thrive without a minimal amount of moisture.

This got me thinking: we've made flybys of Jupiter and its moons. We should dump some bacteria rich compartment in Europa and check back a few billion years later to see how they're faring :P

Jplus wrote:I'm a bit concerned... why are exceptionally sturdy organisms called "pesky bastards" or "assholes"? Did they hurt anyone by being sturdy??


Not yet! I'm sure they are plotting, evilly plotting our demise. And when (not if) they come for us, what chance do we got?

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Re: Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby sardia » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:40 pm UTC

PolakoVoador wrote:Thanks for the links guys :D I've never heard of the clean-room-bacteria before.

So, we've potentially sent bacteria all over the place, but no chance for them to thrive without a minimal amount of moisture.

This got me thinking: we've made flybys of Jupiter and its moons. We should dump some bacteria rich compartment in Europa and check back a few billion years later to see how they're faring :P

Jplus wrote:I'm a bit concerned... why are exceptionally sturdy organisms called "pesky bastards" or "assholes"? Did they hurt anyone by being sturdy??


Not yet! I'm sure they are plotting, evilly plotting our demise. And when (not if) they come for us, what chance do we got?

If we're going to do that, might as well go balls deep and terraform planets with it.

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Re: Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:07 pm UTC

PolakoVoador wrote:This got me thinking: we've made flybys of Jupiter and its moons. We should dump some bacteria rich compartment in Europa and check back a few billion years later to see how they're faring :P
I'm a huge fan of the notion of using biological solutions to colonization, so, yes. I've read some really interesting proposals using GM bacteria and fungi to solve a bunch of really difficult problems for terraforming.
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Re: Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby qetzal » Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:34 am UTC

1) No. As pointed out, all life on Earth requires water to grow and reproduce. No water, no reproduction. No reproduction, no adaption/evolution.

2) Surviving on the moon, yes, as others have noted. But it would be impossible to engineer any Earth life that could actually grow and reproduce without water (e.g. on the moon). Life without water might be possible, but it wouldn't be anything like Earth life.

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Re: Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby davidstarlingm » Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:45 pm UTC

qetzal wrote:1) No. As pointed out, all life on Earth requires water to grow and reproduce. No water, no reproduction. No reproduction, no adaption/evolution.

2) Surviving on the moon, yes, as others have noted. But it would be impossible to engineer any Earth life that could actually grow and reproduce without water (e.g. on the moon). Life without water might be possible, but it wouldn't be anything like Earth life.

Survival is definitely different from reproduction/adaptation.

I'd argue that life needs two things (at minimum) in order to reproduce: a food source, and a liquid medium. Now, the food source can be anything; for all we know there are bacteria which would already be capable of digesting lunar regolith. But in order to reproduce, they need a stable liquid medium: a layer of moisture or oil or something so they can actually move around. And that's where Mars and the Moon fall short. Titan, on the other hand....

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Re: Bacteria in Spaaace

Postby Tass » Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:54 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote: And that's where Mars and the Moon fall short. Titan, on the other hand....


Mars might not fall short.

All Earth life that we know need not just a liquid medium, they need liquid water. It is possible that life could exist using liquid methane, but it would not be related to Earth life.

On the other hand there are bacteria living in Earths ice sheets. Although it is below freezing, they can thaw out their immediate surroundings with proteins. Such bacteria could possibly not just survive, but grow, on Mars.

It is a near given that if we contaminated the ocean on Europa with the right bacteria, they would thrive. Unless out competed by indigenous life, of course.


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