|Mars probes have found special regions that could support the growth of hardy microorganisms.|
Rovers and probes have found special places on Mars where Earth microbes could thrive, risking contamination unless we take precautions.
| Twenty years ago, America celebrated its Independence Day by landing several thousand invaders on the surface of Mars.
On July 4, 1997, the Pathfinder spacecraft touched down in a northern
lowland called Chryse Planitia carrying a small rover named Sojourner—as well as a large amount of stowaways in the form of earthly microbes.
Did any of these microbes survive and reproduce, establishing themselves as Earth’s first colonists on a distant world? Highly unlikely, NASA assured us at the time, noting that scientists believed “it would be difficult to sustain and cultivate life on Mars.” …
But, as Jurassic Park famously pointed out, life often finds a way. …