|By Clyde Lewis
Wouldn't it be great if we found out that we were not alone in the Universe? That the Universe was teaming with life? That this life consisted of simple microscopic Martian life? This would mean that we as Terrans would be stepping into the next level of our space exploration. Or it could mean our own deaths. Ground Zero wants you to consider the potential Dangers if a swarm of Microscopic Martian Viruses were unleashed on the earth.
Back in the summer of 1997 it was an incredible coincidence for me to be sitting in an El Paso Hotel Room watching television and hearing that we had successfully landed a spacecraft on the surface of Mars. I anxiously listened to mission control give the details of what was being seen. I guess it was the idea that this would be the mission that would conclude that life existed there. After all I was 200 miles outside of Roswell New Mexico. I was on my way to the 50th Anniversary conference slated to commemorate the alleged crash landing of an alien spacecraft in the unforgiving landscape of the southwest. It was if the future had arrived and the possibility of breaking that wall, finding out that life elsewhere existed, would bring us to the next level.
Why was this different? Why was this moment in time so incredible that I could put away my entire skepticism and allow my self to believe in little green men? Or at least the possibility of miniscule life forms on the planet Mars? It could have been the parades, it could have been the fact that people from all over the world descended upon a small town in New Mexico to find the truth, It could have been the Movie Independence day, It could have been all of it. But it wasn't. It was all because of a rock. It was AL84001 a rock that apparently had yielded evidence that at one time life may have existed on mars. It was that very rock that prompted the president to make a speech in 1996 demanding further investigation into Mars. That if there is life on Mars then we need to act and act quickly. The new space race was on and after living through one space race it was incredible to be old enough to understand what it meant for our planet. It was also an opportunity to look back on past missions and try to figure out why we have failed so many times in trying to understand exactly what Mars has on its surface.
It also made me stop and wonder why we continued to go to Mars because it never showed us that life existed and then immediately we are looking for small bacteria and single celled life forms because of a rock that could have earthly Bacteria embedded in it.
The Russians sent Mars probes into space and 5 times in a row each probe was destroyed. No one had explanations as to why and conspiracy theorists had their ideas. Even the United States had several failed attempts to get near Mars until 1965 with the Mariner Project. When pictures returned to earth from Mariner Scientists were not impressed.
However science marched on and Russia continued to send more probes to Mars, and The United States did too. This forced me to conclude that there is something up there and NASA has kept everything quiet, for fear that it could change the way we think about ourselves.
Being raised on heavy doses of Ray Bradbury and the Martian Chronicles it was easy for me to think that perhaps Bradbury, Like Arthur C. Clarke could have been a Visionary and had predicted this all along. We were moving closer and closer to a possible man on mars mission, and perhaps a meeting with the legendary Martians. It has been placed in our pop culture for many years, a science fiction fairy tale of man meeting Martian and trying to live together in Harmony. However each story from War of the Worlds to Martian Chronicles warns us that while the idea of Man meeting Extra terrestrial is a fascinating possibility, the consequences can be deadly for both sides. In the Martian Chronicles, the earthmen brought with them deadly viruses that eventually killed off the Martians. In War of the worlds The planet Earth Faced it's deadly foe and realized that atomic bombs and conventional weapons could not stop the Vanguard of an alien race from attacking and taking over our planet. What they didn't realize was that something as simple as a common virus was too much for the Martians, and their ships came to a screeching halt and the world suffered no more.
One year to the day after NASA successfully launched and landed Pathfinder Japan became the third nation on Earth to penetrate the Martian atmosphere and land a spacecraft on Martian soil. The spacecraft was named Nozomi meaning hope. The Spacecraft will monitor the atmosphere of Mars and also use High frequency pulses to search for water under the Martian surface.
Mars will see its share of other landings as well. NASA's Mars Surveyor '98 Orbiter will arrive sometime in the Fall of 1999 will carry two instruments similar to those of the ill fated Mars observer that was lost in 1993. In December of 1999 Mars Surveyor lander should end up on the Martian South Pole and scientists are hoping that the layers of Ice and dust may hold a geological record of climate variations on the planet. There are other missions slated for March and April of 2001 and June of 2003. These missions are slated to analyze the chemistry and mineral make up of Martian Soil.
This will give NASA the opportunity to have some of these Martian Samples return to earth, between 2004 and 2008.
If these Martian Samples are brought back to earth and small life forms are in the samples this would be evidence and in essence first Contact with an extra terrestrial life form.
Not all Scientists are happy with this. It is not because of a cover-up, or a conspiracy, it is because of an Andromeda Strain scenario that could unleash a potentially deadly extra terrestrial Virus on this planet. It would be a Reverse Bradbury or H.G. Well's plot where we unwittingly bring home ET's diseases and we are stopped dead in our tracks.
The Andromeda Strain is a Book by Michael Crichton which outlines this Very Possible outcome. In the Book the United States government stands warned that sterilization procedures for returning space probes might be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere. When a probe satellite falls to the earth two years later, and lands in a desolate area of northeastern Arizona, the bodies that lie heaped and flung across the ground, have faces locked in frozen surprise. It is as if they didn't know what hit them.
At this time a huge public and scientific debate is raging over the use in Humans of donor animal organs. No one can be certain of the potential dangers and strange genetic abnormalities that might happen in the long term or whether their immune systems will cope with it. Try to imagine how your immune system could cope with a Virus from outer space.
History has also shown us that while discovering new worlds was part of our progress, it had deadly consequences. When Spain set forth to discover the New World there were many invading hordes that landed in South America and millions of Native populations died because they weren't exposed to European Illnesses.
Why should we worry when every time we have gone to Mars science has said that the Planet is virtually dead? Because it's what Science has not told you that you need to know. Many Scientists believe that there may be simple but dangerous forms of life on Mars.
The latest announcements from Science once again are building up the hopes that one day we may encounter life forms in the cosmos, only to bring them to earth with deadly consequences. Sensational new claims about life on Mars are about to be made by US scientists. Some of the researchers who claimed in 1996 to have found evidence for past life in a Martian meteorite now say they have further evidence to support their theories in one, possibly two, other rocks.
With new rocks being found in Libya and Antarctica the evidence mounts for more money changing hands and spacecraft heading for Mars. There are some scientists however that are not convinced by the evidence in hand. That isn't stopping NASA from reviewing it's schedule for continuing trips to Mars, and in spite of the inherent dangers they continue to plan on Sample return Missions. The stage has been set the rockets will fire and the Landing of these possible Viruses will be in the Western Desert of Utah.
On one hand it is being proposed that we have nothing to fear and that quite possibly the very Viruses we could be running away from are our own. That Life that exists on Mars was brought there from earth. Organisms, like bacteria for example could have been brought there from other spacecraft that have landed from the earth and survived in the Martian atmosphere.
On the other hand science is worried about science fiction becoming science fact and that an Andromeda Strain scenario would play out here in the United States. This of course would be first contact, but with an Alien bug that would attack a defenseless earth. Not the kind of Alien Life forms seen in Movies like Independence day and Mars Attacks, but life so small we would only see them with powerful Microscopes.
It is also proposed that we should not fear Cosmic Viruses because it is believed that a lot of our Viruses are from Outer Space. Some Scientists say that a ton of life falls from space attached to meteorites and comets and incorporates itself into the living cells of everything on the planet and may even drive evolution. That many of our diseases lie dormant in the earth, and are unleashed accidentally. These diseases have been in our earth, since the time it was created.
Is it worth risking our lives to find out if there is life out in Space? The challenge should be given to Astronauts, who at one time risked their lives to go into space. Now the responsibility of the astronaut is merely to fly a huge aircraft 250 miles above the earth, which anymore is becoming routine.
So far there has been no opposition to NASA and the idea to subject the entire planet to a possible alien Virus. The question is why can't our Astronauts test the samples in space? Why does this experiment have to be done on earth where there is a potential for these Viruses to kill us all. It is one thing to risk the lives of one or two Astronauts for this quest and another to put the entire planet at risk.
Despite all of the assurances despite all of the Quarantine precautions can NASA be 100 per cent sure that there are no risks involved? Why can't Robots do it on Mars? Viking was capable of doing the same job when it landed on Mars in 1976.
I am sure NASA has a long list of things that Justify why they want to do this. If they do, then we should be able to demand to see the reasons why they have chosen to put our planet at Risk and not our Astronauts. When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon he knew the risks. What if he stepped off and was fried on camera? It didn't happen but what if it did? You don't think he understood that he could be left on the moon to die? What has changed in the Attitudes of space cowboy heroes?
Ground Zero has brought this topic to you now, in hopes that you will be aware and act upon it. If NASA feels they are unopposed they will make their plans and put the planet at risk. Make no mistake, this topic will be high on the political agenda in the next year or so, but in the meantime it must be introduced now.
Barry Digregorio author of Mars the Living Planet has already organized a group known as the international committee against Mars Sample return and the topic will probably be talked about more and more as the first mission approaches.
Our dreams of Cute little ET's coming down and saving us maybe just that, a dream, and first Contact could be with a Virus that could wipe out the entire planet. Are you ready to take that Risk?
Copyright 1998-2007 Ground Zero Media, Clyde Lewis, and John Hart. All Rights Reserved.