Author Topic: BFS quarantine ?  (Read 4266 times)

Offline MickQ

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BFS quarantine ?
« on: 01/13/2018 05:45 AM »
I have not seen this mentioned or discussed anywhere so.....

Will BFS returning from Mars need to be cleaned, de-contaminated etc before landing back on Earth ?

Mick.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #1 on: 01/13/2018 08:15 AM »
I seriously doubt there’s anything that might need to be removed, there’s quite a lot of Mars material on Earth already. But even if they were, I’m not sure what could be practically done before landing on Earth (eg in LEO) that would be any more effective than the months of travel in deep space to get from Mars back to Earth and then the rigours of re-entry.

Online gongora

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #2 on: 01/13/2018 01:26 PM »
I have not seen this mentioned or discussed anywhere so.....

Will BFS returning from Mars need to be cleaned, de-contaminated etc before landing back on Earth ?

Mick.

That is a good question. I doubt we'll find out an answer anytime soon.

Offline laszlo

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #3 on: 01/13/2018 01:40 PM »
Even if Mars seems sterile when the first BFS is ready to go, a return quarantine will be politically necessary at least. After all, think of the bad publicity if Elon's plan to save the human species from planet-wide catastrophes results in everyone dying of Mars Plague.

If actual life of any sort is discovered on Mars before SpaceX starts its colonization attempts I don't see how quarantine can be avoided. In fact, if life is discovered before the attempt starts, that may be enough to delay or terminate the attempt.


Online AncientU

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #4 on: 01/13/2018 01:50 PM »
What was NASA planning to do?  Mars sample return, for instance, or the comet sample return?

Having people on Mars is something of a canary-in-the-cage test case, though.  Not that those travelers shouldn't take isolation lab precautions, at least for the first few years.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Dave G

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #5 on: 01/13/2018 02:47 PM »
there’s quite a lot of Mars material on Earth already.
Yes, but it's all gone through fiery hell to get here.

But even if they were, I’m not sure what could be practically done before landing on Earth (eg in LEO) that would be any more effective than the months of travel in deep space to get from Mars back to Earth and then the rigors of re-entry.
If you haven't seen the movie "Life", they dive into this exact scenario.

Offline TripD

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #6 on: 01/13/2018 05:56 PM »
Quote
Will BFS returning from Mars need to be cleaned, de-contaminated etc before landing back on Earth ?

Quote
If you haven't seen the movie "Life", they dive into this exact scenario.

Even though the movie suggested an inane disregard for common sense, it does bring up the human factor in all of this.  Once the mars commute becomes a thing, how long will it take before the first souvenirs begin to make their way back to earth?  If no life is found for a stretch of time, will strict protocols be considered quaint and burdensome? How long is long enough?

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #7 on: 01/14/2018 12:59 AM »
The Apollo quarantine period began at the moment the hatch was opened between the CSM and the returning LM, on the theory that at that point, all three crewmen had been exposed to lunar material.  If, 21 days after that, no one showed any signs of infection or other malady, the quarantine ended.

Mars is a lot farther away than a 21 day travel time.  Heck, I can't imagine the first exposure to Martian soils, etc., will be less than 21 days before the first Mars landing crew starts coming home, much less get back.

The time on Mars and the return trip are massively longer than any quarantine period the most conservative/paranoid doctors would ask for, I think.
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline MickQ

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #8 on: 01/14/2018 10:01 AM »
I know that it is a really long shot but what if some kind of Martian matter gets somehow wedged in the landing legs and is carried back to Earth ?

Based on Falcon 9 landings the legs will be closed for all but the last few seconds of Earth EDL so, in theory this material could be released into the atmosphere on landing.

Offline Dave G

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #9 on: 01/14/2018 12:13 PM »
I know that it is a really long shot but what if some kind of Martian matter gets somehow wedged in the landing legs and is carried back to Earth ?

Based on Falcon 9 landings the legs will be closed for all but the last few seconds of Earth EDL so, in theory this material could be released into the atmosphere on landing.

Good point.

To be clear, I don't think any of this will end up being a major issue, but we shouldn't forget about it either.

Precautions should be taken, at least initially.

Online ChrML

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #10 on: 01/16/2018 08:11 PM »
Elon seems to think Mars is just a dead rock, he stated so in the first Q&A in the 2016 vid. And tbh that is the most likely truth. There are other moons in our solar system far more likely to be habitable.

But initially until it can be proved, SpaceX most likely have to decontaminate both ways. There is no law forcing them to do so, but the least SpaceX wants to is to piss off NASA. And this is important for NASA.

Offline moreno7798

Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #11 on: 01/16/2018 10:20 PM »
Meh...

It seems to me that a quarantine in light of the fact that almost everyone (At NASA) agrees there is no life (any fear of microbes is kind of an admission of current life) on the surface of Mars would be pointless. More than anything else, it would be a mere appeasement for the planetary protection scientists. So if you quarantine, then the question would be, What are you quarantining? Sterile dirt? Or do you just want to waste money on a "perceived" safety procedure that really does nothing for safety?

You have to understand, the second the spaceship comes in contact with earth's atmosphere, let alone land "ANYWHERE" on earth, a quarantine is basically an exercise in futility. Made even more evident because of panspermia. It would be a major waste of time to have to quarantine a spaceship for that particular reason.

Rocks from deep space are falling in all the time - large, small, medium. They are everywhere on earth and they are coming from places even more dangerous than Mars - earth goes through several comet dust tails from deep space every so often as well. The point is, there's no point in quarantining what is technically un-quarantinable.

One last point - China, or some other nation, may have a sample returned from Mars before a BFR round-trip happens. How many negative results before we get rid of the red tape?
« Last Edit: 01/17/2018 10:09 PM by moreno7798 »

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #12 on: 01/17/2018 06:47 PM »
But initially until it can be proved, SpaceX most likely have to decontaminate both ways.
You won't be able to prove there's no life on Mars for millennia, even with a thriving human colony there (which would probably make decontamination pointless anyway). There are places on Earth we haven't managed to prove lifeless yet! And Mars is a big, virtually unexplored place.

Quote
There is no law forcing them to do so, but the least SpaceX wants to is to piss off NASA. And this is important for NASA.
It's important to some people in NASA, principally scientists, and they've been allowed free-reign because it wasn't impinging on other people's aspirations etc. If and when it starts doing so, there will be push-back.

Offline hkultala

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #13 on: 01/17/2018 07:54 PM »
I seriously doubt there’s anything that might need to be removed, there’s quite a lot of Mars material on Earth already.

What mars material are you talking about?

Online ChrML

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #14 on: 01/17/2018 09:58 PM »
Sterile dirt? Or do you just want to waste money on a "perceived" safety procedure that really does nothing for safety?
First the scientists want to protect Mars from Earth. There are lots of earth organisms that could probably survive and form on mars. There are even organisms living deep in lava stone here on earth.

What the scientists fear is that if we 50 years from now find some organism on Mars, then the discussion would be if it really came from Earth with us and adapted to the environment. And that there never was life on mars until we came. Or if it's always been there. Then again, when we colonize mars there is probably no way to avoid contaminating mars.

The other way only if mars happens to have organisms. They might not be so friendly for us. Cause diseases etc that we might not be able to stop. Again, that assumes existing life on Mars.
« Last Edit: 01/17/2018 09:59 PM by ChrML »

Offline Oersted

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #15 on: 01/17/2018 10:19 PM »
I seriously doubt there’s anything that might need to be removed, there’s quite a lot of Mars material on Earth already.

What mars material are you talking about?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martian_meteorite

Offline QuantumG

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #16 on: 01/17/2018 10:22 PM »
What the scientists fear is that if we 50 years from now find some organism on Mars, then the discussion would be if it really came from Earth with us and adapted to the environment. And that there never was life on mars until we came. Or if it's always been there. Then again, when we colonize mars there is probably no way to avoid contaminating mars.

The other way only if mars happens to have organisms. They might not be so friendly for us. Cause diseases etc that we might not be able to stop. Again, that assumes existing life on Mars.

Hello weary traveller! How did you get to the 21st century from the 1950s? Tell us your amazing tale!

But seriously, this is such outdated nonsense. If we find organisms on Mars they'll either be unlike any life we've ever seen before (alien you might say) or they'll have similar biochemistry to known life and we'll investigate their position in the evolutionary history using genome analysis - like we've done thousands and thousands of times now.

As for some amazing superbug coming from Mars to hunt humans, it makes for (arguably) good fiction but is patently absurd to anyone with a basic understanding of microbiology.

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline moreno7798

Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #17 on: 01/17/2018 10:24 PM »
Sterile dirt? Or do you just want to waste money on a "perceived" safety procedure that really does nothing for safety?
First the scientists want to protect Mars from Earth. There are lots of earth organisms that could probably survive and form on mars. There are even organisms living deep in lava stone here on earth.

What the scientists fear is that if we 50 years from now find some organism on Mars, then the discussion would be if it really came from Earth with us and adapted to the environment. And that there never was life on mars until we came. Or if it's always been there. Then again, when we colonize mars there is probably no way to avoid contaminating mars.

The other way only if mars happens to have organisms. They might not be so friendly for us. Cause diseases etc that we might not be able to stop. Again, that assumes existing life on Mars.

So basically you're saying NASA has been infesting Mars with earth microbes for over 3 decades. Or are you going to be so bold as to imply that every mission to Mars has been 100% purified and rid from microbes from earth - 100% impossible. And we're talking about the "better than everybody else" job NASA does decontaminating every Mars mission. What about the ones from Russia? Japan? Europe? India? Soon China? Again, it is pointless.

As I see it, the best we can do is reserve an area of Mars that would be inaccessible to anyone/anything so that it can be studied in a not so distant future to look for life. We have the technology and the know-how to differentiate between earth life and Martian life if we ever find life on Mars - even after a full colony has been established on Mars. In fact, we could do that right now on earth if we ever found biology that doesn't fit our own.
« Last Edit: 01/17/2018 11:25 PM by moreno7798 »

Offline moreno7798

Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #18 on: 01/17/2018 10:56 PM »
What the scientists fear is that if we 50 years from now find some organism on Mars, then the discussion would be if it really came from Earth with us and adapted to the environment. And that there never was life on mars until we came. Or if it's always been there. Then again, when we colonize mars there is probably no way to avoid contaminating mars.

The other way only if mars happens to have organisms. They might not be so friendly for us. Cause diseases etc that we might not be able to stop. Again, that assumes existing life on Mars.


As for some amazing superbug coming from Mars to hunt humans, it makes for (arguably) good fiction but is patently absurd to anyone with a basic understanding of microbiology.

I agree. I'm not a chemist or a biologist but I'd assume that any martian superbug seeking to do us harm would have to:

1.  ...have the same biology as human(earth) biology - very unlikely unless it evolved on earth.
2.  ...be able to interact with our biology. If it evolved with different biology, then to them humans might as well be dead rocks.
3.  ...want to feed on us. - Again, If it evolved with different biology, then it'd be like impala trying to feed on meat.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: BFS quarantine ?
« Reply #19 on: 01/17/2018 11:06 PM »
I agree. I'm not a chemist or a biologist but I'd assume that any martian superbug seeking to do us harm would have to:

1.  ...have the same biology as human(earth) biology - very unlikely unless it evolved on earth.
2.  ...be able to interact with our biology. If it evolved with different biology, then to them humans might as well be dead rocks.
3.  ...want to feed on us. - Again, If it evolved with different biology, then it'd be like impala trying to feed on meat.

Or just simply be like any microbe taken from the desert and dropped in the ocean - out-competed in seconds by the locals. Microbes develop in particular niches and are in constant competition with other microbes. The idea that some introduced interloper is going to somehow instantly be top dog is silly.

And that's the most plausible scenario... the science fiction scenario is that somehow a Mars microbe is a human pathogen, how's that work? The vast vast vast vast (I could go on, Douglas Adams style) majority of microbes on Earth don't have any effect on us - you can inject them into your bloodstream and not have a problem - the minuscule number that are a problem for us have co-evolved with us and other animals on this planet. It's simply impossible for a microbe from Mars to have a deleterious effect on humans.

NASA's planetary protection position is simply junk science. It's outdated claptrap.

 
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

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