SpaceX’s Tesla Red Car could be carrying earthly bacteria in space. According to some, the car could also contaminate Mars.
Elon Musk of SpaceX successfully launched a Heavy Falcon Rocket earlier this month. According to Purdue University Scientist, the Tesla Red Car could be Carrying the largest load of earthly bacteria that never enter the space before.
The Tesla is well into space now, heading towards an orbit that will put it in close proximity to Mars.
At the first glance that might not be an issue. But Purdue Professor Jay Melosh said that Earth-bound bacteria could wreak havoc on mars.
Melosh stated that the Office of Planetary Protection does not regulate spacecraft that plan to stay in orbit. He added that NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection sterilizes spacecraft that will land on other planets. Thus, ensuring our native bacteria doesn’t interact with the organisms elsewhere. He claimed in his statement that Tesla didn’t sterilize Musk’s car, “bring with it what may be the largest load of earthly bacteria to ever enter space.
Melosh said that SpaceX did not intend to land the Tesla car, thus, they didn’t clean it before takeoff.
The Tesla could potentially land on Mars, although it is unlikely, according to Melosh.
Another Purdue University Professor, Alina Alexeenko, stated that “The load of bacteria on the Tesla could be considered a biothreat, or a backup copy of life on Earth”.
Extreme temperatures, low pressure, and unfiltered cosmic radiation make space an unfriendly environment for living organisms. However, it does not always kill them. Some bacteria go dormant in the vacuum of space and wake up again when conditions are right.
Thumbnail image: A red Tesla convertible hitched a ride to space with a SpaceX rocket in early February. Thus, bringing with it what may be the largest load of earthly bacteria to ever enter space. Credit: SpaceX