A culture plate from Surveyor 3 camera on the Apollo 12 from 1970 mission showed a common harmless bacteria found in the nose, mouth and throat in humans.
A culture plate from Surveyor 3 camera on the Apollo 12 from 1970 mission showed a common harmless bacteria found in the nose, mouth and throat in humans. NASA

New planets won't be anything like Earth: Coast astronomer

IF a small globule of snot can survive in outer-space, who is to say alien life won't exist on one of the new Earth-sized worlds found by NASA.

But Sunshine Coast astronomer, Owen Bennedick warns don't expect the worlds which scientists believe can hold life to be anything like our planet.

"The chances of it being anything like earth are almost zero," the founder of the Wappa Falls Observatory said.

Mr Bennedick said science had shown bugs, known as extremophiles, could live in the extreme conditions of space.

"When they were sending a spacecraft to the moon, before they sent it the guy who was constructing it had a cold and sneezed into the spacecraft's camera.

"When they retrieved the camera later, they could see the bugs were still alive. The moon has no atmosphere yet it lived.

"It proves life is incredibly tough."

In fact, the bugs on board the Apollo 12 surveyor's camera lived for two and a half years in the harsh lunar environment.

 

Details of the Apollo 12's historic sneeze on NASA's website.
Details of the Apollo 12's historic sneeze on NASA's website. NASA screenshot

Apollo 12 Commander Pete Conrad told NASA said the significance of the only known microbial survivor of harsh interplanetary travel struck him as profound.

"I always thought the most significant thing that we ever found on the whole Moon was that little bacteria who came back and lived and nobody ever said [anything] about it," the NASA website reads.

Mr Bennedick said it proved "things can live on the moon".

But the chances of humans being able to move to another planet were extremely unlikely.

"We need to look after planet Earth," Mr Bennedick said.

 

Owen Bennedick from the Wappa Falls Observatory
Owen Bennedick from the Wappa Falls Observatory Warren Lynam

"It is all exciting to find life somewhere else, but the distances to objects are so incredible. Even at the speed of light it will take an incredible time to get there.

"And once you do get there, there is no McDonald's."

He said there were so "many things so incredible special about Earth" who would prefer to see more money spent preserving where we live than exploring new horizons.

"People who think they can stuff the earth up and strip our resources and find somewhere else to live are being absolutely foolish," he said.

"There could be something out there, but what is it going to mean to us?

"We would waste an enormous amouint of Earth's resources manning a spacecraft to go there. We've got to look after home.

"This is home, it is what we have been given.

"We have taken more from Earth in the last 50 years than we have in the past 5000."

"And if we did find somewhere like planet Earth, who would go? The super rich? The ones with all the Phds, how many would go?"


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