Coronavirus, shows us what could happen when alien life arrives on Earth; Original article by Alessandro Brizzi.
Do you know what? Maybe we should reconsider all of this about finding alien life in other worlds. It would be nice to find this alien life, of course, but that does not mean that we can face it biologically, epidemiological and, above all, emotionally.
We are currently in the midst of a global panic over what, in some ways, is its own alien life form, or at least previously unknown: the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease known as COVID-19. In fact, according to Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, British astrophysicist at the Buckingham Astrobiology Center, he said that Coronavirus appeared on our planet through the fragment of a comet that launched “hundreds of billions” of viral particles.
According to Prof. Chandra these viral particles (pathogens) were studied in China, at the Wuhan Experimental and Biological Prevention Center (WCDCP) and most likely inoculated on bats and other animals. In fact, the researchers have identified the epicenter area of the COVID19 epidemic and are said to be two laboratories that conduct random research on bats and pathogens. The closest, the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In the past, a scientist working in that laboratory reported having been attacked by the same bats twice and, knowing the extreme danger of possible infection, put himself on both occasions in voluntary quarantine for 14 days. According to the scientists, therefore, “it is plausible that the virus leaked from the laboratory and thus contaminated the initial patients, even if solid tests will be needed in future studies”. Coronavirus
At the time of this writing, there have been approximately 90,000 confirmed cases worldwide, in 68 countries, with over 3,000 deaths. Air flights have been suspended, international trade agreements have been canceled, the Tokyo Olympics have been threatened and a global recession is approaching. Last week in the United States, Dow Jones’ industrial average had its worst week after the 2008 and 2009 recession, losing a third of its earnings since the 2016 elections, largely due to fears of the impact of COVID-19.
Humanity as a whole suffers from the effects of the disease, but the Chinese are worse off. The virus then emerged in Wuhan, China and around the world, with a bad behavior and with the genetic mutation three times of the same COVID-19. Scientists are convinced that COVID-19 is a totally terrestrial problem, which has nothing to do with space, yet NASA is ready to launch a new spacecraft for Mars in July that will search for microbial life. Some rock and soil samples will be brought back to Earth on a later mission, potentially containing this microbial life.
According to Space.com, there is no risk of contagion, and NASA has a long history of working to protect Earth from the biological hazards of other planets and to protect other planets from Earth’s biological hazards. The space agency even has an entire division dedicated to this goal, formally known as the Office of Security and Mission Assurance (OSMA), but more commonly and descriptively known as the Office of Planetary Protection.
As OSMA states, its mission is “to carefully monitor the direct contamination of other worlds by organisms and organic materials transported by spaceships” and “to strictly prevent reverse contamination of the Earth by extraterrestrial life”. If you are unsure which of these mission statements is the most important, consider the difference between the promise to “check carefully” for something like “strictly prevent it.” NASA’s most extensive experiment on the risk of reverse contamination occurred during the Apollo era, when moon and human champions who were on the Moon returned to Earth. At the first three landings, as soon as the crew opened the hatch after the mission, the men handed them bio hazard suits to wear on the return journey on the ship to be recovered. From there they were flown to Houston, where they were held in solitary confinement for three weeks. The crews – as expected after visiting a world without air and water – were not carrying lunar pathogens and the quarantine procedure has been interrupted for the last three lunar missions. Mars will be a very different matter, because Mars, which had previously been flooded with water, could also be quite full of life on a microbial level – and some of them may still be where the water remains.
As the Space.com article points out, terrestrial life and potential Martian life may be related: the Mars meteorites that hit Earth billions of years ago could very well have hosted microorganisms that survived the journey inside the pockets in the rocks, giving life here. In that case, not only do we find Martians, but we are Martians. But any relationship between terrestrial and Martian life today can increase the risk of Martian microbes finding us good hosts. The chances of finding life on Mars are unknown. The chances of the missions being able to pick it up and bring it back to Earth intact add an additional degree of uncertainty. And the risk of escape from a pathogen and a resulting pandemic, although not impossible, seems much more like a film script than a scientific study document. However, the risk exists. Even in level 4 labs – the most rigorous type of bio-containment facilities – there is always the possibility that something may escape. The search for life in other worlds is a manifestation of our interest but we must have respect for these forms of life, or rather, show our love for other living beings. The battle against SARS-CoV-2 is a unified face sign that we can show when one of these living beings threatens us all – a collectivism that is among our highest qualities.
Coronavirus, shows us what could happen when alien life arrives on Earth.
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