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starship-design: Alien life


On the subject of contamination by alien life, we can only speculate.
But we can attempt to make 'educated guesses' and define safety
precautions. I have been thinking long about this subject, and I think
it will be a much more dangerous problem than we think. Let us first
consider what life is: must it be carbon based? Could it be silicon,
boron, or tungsten based? Well, that depends on what you call life. Only
carbon seems able to make well workable amino acids, but what of the
possibility of life that does not use amino acids, or enzymes? Something
truly alien to anything we have previously encountered. On an earthlike
planet, or something similar, life will probably be similar to earth
life, at least in the use of DNA or carbon based amino acids. This life
would not pose a serious threat since it was not adapted to human
proteins. However, as has been pointed out, precautions must be taken in
the off chance they could infect humans. But now consider life existing
in an extremely hostile environment. There are those who believe life
would never exist in an inhospitable environment, but that fact it made
moot by studying life here on earth. Any lifeforms that exist on a
hostile world would likely have to survive on nearly anything. As such,
they could prove to be incredibly dangerous to humans. Something like
the 'andromeda strain,' but possibly much worse. Decon procedures should
be carried out when landing on any world, not just earthlike ones.

Kyle R. Mcallister