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Could Humans Have Contaminated Mars With Life?

Christopher Mason: Could a trace bacterium or spore from Earth have accidentally been carried into space and survived the trip to make its new home on Mars? Although NASA and its engineers in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have precise and thorough protocols to ensure their spacecraft are free from any organisms that might inadvertently hitchhike on a space mission, two recent studies highlight how some organisms might have survived the cleaning process and also the trip to Mars, and also how fast microbial species can evolve while in space.

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