To land on the red planet is a dream of every nation and many are continuously chasing to achieve it .Recently we have come across the launch of three major missions to Mars that shows the mindset of nations worldwide that how crucial the mission is, the three mission are –
1. China’s Tianwen-1 – 23 July 2020 : With the goal to land on the planet mars , the Red Giant
2. UAE’s Al Amal (Hope) – 20 July 2020 : It was an orbital mission and the mission is nowhere in a mood to land on Red Pannet, it is organized to study the Martian atmosphere
3.Perseverance mission -30 July 2020 Since 1975 it was 10th Mars landing mission by US Since many nations are trying to reach mars, these ambitious space missions are increasing rapidly. Many astrobiologists have shared their concerns about possible contamination in the planets.
Such contaminations are generally categorized into two types –
1. Forward contamination : Forward contamination refers to the transport of microbes or other particles from Earth to the other planets or the celestial bodies.
2. Backward contamination : Backward contamination refers to the transfer of extraterrestrial organisms with the fact if they exist or other particles into the Earth’s .
Let’s have a brief about Forward contaminating Mars :
In the past, there we have witnessed many space missions that are found to have physical contact with astronomical celestial bodies like comets and asteroids, and multiple successful missions through many nations have landed on the Moon. However, due to antagonistic availability of life these are not dangerous.
If we consider Mars, we have witnessed many reports claiming however the possible presence of liquid water on the red planet, due to this many astronauts are claiming that there is a chance of life . Astrobiologists say that if there is a little chance that Mars has life then one should not interfere in other celestial living bodies’ environment even in its most primitive form, there is an ethical obligation on humanity to ensure that microbes should not create any change from Earth to red planet .
Apart from it, the second thought of experts is the worry that multiple actions of Earth-based organisms could contaminate the Red Planet’s sample which they want to get in its initial form without any change
Now what is Back contamination ?
Recently we came to know that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration also plans for a Mars sample-return mission, which would bring samples of the Red Planet to Earth, through which the team of NASA can check the possibility of life by 2031.Scientists, however, does not agree on the fact that if the backward contamination took place this may cause many new pandemic similar like the current Covid’19 situation so as to have Planetary protection many have opposed it.
According to the United Nations Outer Space Treaty of 1967, its 110 state parties include the US, Russia, China, and India are against the military opposition of interplanetary riskTo ensure the Treaty, a ‘planetary protection policy’ is formed by a Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) that focuses on how to limit the number of microbes sent or received from one plant to another.
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