Alien organisms - hitchhikers of the galaxy

Fri, 19 Nov 2021 01:02:08 GMT
Space Daily

Adelaide, Australia (SPX) Nov 18, 2021 Scientists warn, without good biosecurity measures 'alien...

Scientists warn, without good biosecurity measures 'alien organisms' on Earth may become a reality stranger than fiction.

Published in international journal BioSciences, a team of scientists, including Dr Phill Cassey, Head of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Adelaide, are calling for greater recognition of the biosecurity risks ahead of the space industry.

"In addition to government-led space missions, the arrival of private companies such as SpaceX has meant there are now more players in space exploration than ever before," said Associate Professor Cassey.

Space biosecurity concerns itself with both the transfer of organisms from Earth to space and vice-versa.

The research provides clear evidence of how humans have spread organisms to the remotest regions of the earth and sea, and even into space.

To address the risks of invasive species from space travel, the authors suggest the emerging field of 'invasion science', which deals with the causes and consequences of introducing organisms into new environments, could offer valuable learnings.

"We have a fantastic opportunity to contribute to international policy and to develop biosecurity mitigation measures that can be used by the expanding private space industry. This is an untapped economic development opportunity," Dr Woolnough said.

Despite the value to space biosecurity, the authors state that invasion biologists have yet to be involved in Committee on Space Research Planetary Protection planning.

SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter$5+ Billed Monthly SpaceDaily Contributor $5 Billed Once credit card or paypal "Alien" invasions and the need for planetary biosecurity Herndon VA Nov 18, 2021.

The era of space exploration brings with it a new risk: invasion.

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