Range of Thoughts on the Risks of Mars Sample Return

Range of Thoughts on the Risks of Mars Sample Return

This blog has been live for about two months now, and it’s already clear that there are various comments and attitudes towards the risks of Mars Sample Return. The comments usually fall into descrete categories, ranging from “Why even bother doing this, it’s a waste of money anyway”, to “We must take the risk to better all mankind.” Although the sample of comments is far too few to project the precise percentages of how the pubic opinion breaks down, the following categories give the gist of the predominant comments (not ranked by popularity). The rounded percentages are shown (76 applicable comments).

1) Why even bother doing Mars Sample Return? Use the money to take care of the Earth. 8%

2) I think it is too dangerous to bring the Mars samples back to Earth (some people suggest study it on the ISS, or at a future Lunar base). 34%

3) I think Mars Sample Return is safe because, from what I’ve heard, Mars is probably sterile. 9%

4) I think Mars Sample Return is safe, because I don’t think Mars life would be a pathogen or survive on Earth as an invasive species. 7%

5) I think Mars Sample Return is safe because I trust scientist to keep the samples contained, (some add “like they did with the Apollo Moon samples”, or add the importance to mankind). 29%

6) I think Mars Sample Return is safe because meteors have been bringing Mars life here for a long time. 13%

So where do you fall in the spectrum of responses? Or do you have a different view?


You know, the same arguments about the danger of returning from a new world with deadly pathogens would’ve most likely been far more accurate back in the 15th century when Spanish sailors grabbed all they could carry to haul back to Europe. How did that work out? (Contrary to old stories, they didn’t import syphilis back to Europe. It was already there.)

:^/ Because the laws of physics are the same everywhere, we should not be surprised to learn that life exists elsewhere, too.

Any life tough enough to survive on Mars, Venus or elsewhere in our Solar System beyond Earth might be extremely tenacious and adaptable. Earth’s conditions (or inside a human spaceship or body) might be like paradise for it!

Its impossible to move humans around or anything that they have made, without bacteria being involved. We are all 15% bacterial bio-mass. We evolved around the bacteria. We can’t live or even be remotely healthy without them. It’s their world, we’re just living in it.

Quit wasting money going into space. It’s not like anyone will go there for vacation or to live. If anyone is up there watching down here I don’t think they would want to come here with these crazys in charge

Space exploration is nothing but a possible mining for profit. That’s why all these private companies (corporations) and governments are putting in money for this. All about money nothing more.

If we took the time to take care of our problems down here, we would never get into space. There will always be problems no matter what level our technology takes us to. Our resources are limited here on Earth. There are practically unlimited resources in this solar system, let alone space itself. The money spent on exploring and developing space will more than pay for itself in a few years.

Earth’s ecosystem must be pretty robust to have survived all the years, space insults, and we’re still here to worry about bacteria from mars. If any does come back from Mars it will almost certainly be something that we brought there in the first place.

Perhaps a refresher course in statistics and probability would help some to realize how little we actually spend on space, and how robust our ecosystem is over the long term.

Will R., you seem to make a lot of assumptions (Mars doesn’t have indigenous life, it won’t be dangerous to Earths biosphere). Wouldn’t it be better to test the samples on Mars or at least on the ISS first? Why take a chance, especially one that is not yet quantified, with our one and only biosphere? Thanks for the comment.

Who knows what dangerous pathogens lurk … while we are suffering from one already. Quarantine that entire project.

We need to leave these pathogens alone. This covid is one lab “accident” that should never have happened!

We have no business messing around in space and spending billions of $ to do so and then claiming no $ for Social Security and we have so many homeless and down and out people here. That’s our tax $. Not your play $. Do what’s right for the people.

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