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Re: Re: starship-design: The Way ahead & Bugs

>>> Oh, personally - I'm real dubious about Mars colonization.  A chemically
>>> planet with high rad and low G is not a great realestate value.
>>Chemically toxic? You try living without CO2 for very long. Our lungs
need it
>>like they need O2 - we don't metabolise it, but it does play a role in
>>As for the rest of Mars, AFAIK there's NOTHING toxic there that isn't found
>>about here. The soil isn't "super-oxidising" as some claim - that's
>>thermodynamically and photochemically unlikely. Much of it is probably salty
>That wasn't the final judgement of the analysis of the Viking data.  The said
>the only explanation for the reactions with the soil samples would be a
>oxidizing chemical reactino that breaks down organic molecules.

I thought several of the tests carried out on the Mars soil samples were
"dubious" at best - I remember some controversy over the tests to decide
whether there were traces of bacteria in the soil - some of the tests
succeeded, some failed, but some were in direct contradiction of the others..

>>> Also the radiation levels are real bad.
>>Neutrinos are the big worry. Who knows how much damage they can do in
>>and no shielding stops them.
>Neutrinos do virtually nothing.  Nutron radiation is bad.

And you can't shield against neutrinos anyway.

>>So I think the threat is overblown.
>>Remember, Ebola's reservoir is monkeys [our relatives] not some wholly alien
>>lifeform. And we are a lot closer to every lifeform on this planet than we
>>any exobiological entities.
>Actually the best guess is Ebola lives in Bats.

The most devestating diseases known (almost without exception) all come
from other creatures - eg, AIDs from monkeys, possibly CJD from sheep (then
to cows).

Obviously, the reason they are so deadly is that our bodies have never
encountered them before, so the immune system doesn't realise, or can't
stop the new virii/bacteria.
The question is, how alien would you expect these virii to be - it's
possible that they are too alien to affect us in the slightest, and it is
also technically possible that they might be almsot exactly the same as
some we encounter now, so our body can deal with them...  However, far more
likely that they will be partly alien, but also partly familiar.

It's clearly in the virus' worst interests to kill it's host off, which is
why most deadly virii or bateria are mutations of "nuisance" diseases,
which rarely killed, merely incapacitate/annoy.

The other sort of deadly virii are the sort I mentioned earlier, which come
from other creatures.  These are badly adapted to living in their new
hosts, and some tend to cause massive damage because of this.  So if the
alien diseases were -just- compatable enough (eg, used to living in blood
cells of a certain creature) then they would most probably prove fatal for us.

And considering we can't stop earth-born virii, or some bacteria, the
chances of us being able to develop and deploy a vaccine or cure for these
alien diseases are slim to none.

Andrew West.