Scientists Warn of “Alien” Invasions and the Need for Planetary Biosecurity

Extraterrestrial Intelligence Alien Spaceship UFO

The danger isn’t from little green men arriving on flying saucers but, rather, from microbiological contamination of Earth from extraterrestrial environments and vice versa.

The era of space exploration brings with it a new risk: invasion. The peril comes not from little green men arriving on flying saucers but, rather, from microbiological contamination of Earth from extraterrestrial environments and vice versa. Writing in BioScience, Anthony Ricciardi, of McGill University, and colleagues describe the dangers posed by such organisms and outline an approach to address the threat.

The authors caution that biological contamination endangers both ecosystems and human well-being. “Owing to their massive costs to resource sectors and human health, biological invasions are a global biosecurity issue requiring rigorous transboundary solutions,” say Ricciardi and colleagues. And that threat may be more immediate than previously anticipated. Despite considerable microbial caution among space agencies, say the authors, “bacterial strains exhibiting extreme resistance to ionizing radiation, desiccation, and disinfectants have been isolated in NASA ‘clean rooms’ used for spacecraft assembly.”

However, outlined within the article is a possible approach to addressing this alarming scenario: the emergent field of invasion science, in which practitioners study the causes and consequences of organism introductions beyond their evolved ranges. “Research in invasion science has produced novel insights for epidemiology, rapid evolution, the relationship between biodiversity and community stability, and the dynamics of predator–prey and parasite–host interactions, among many other concepts,” say Ricciardi and colleagues. They go on to explain that “Protocols for early detection, hazard assessment, rapid response, and containment procedures currently employed for invasive species on Earth could be adapted for dealing with potential extraterrestrial contaminants.”

The authors highlight a number of insights from invasion science that could be brought to bear on issues of space biosecurity, such as the fact that insular systems such as islands, lakes, and remote habitats are most vulnerable to invasion threats. Similarly, invasion biology has delivered insights about the difficulty of invasion forecasting and the crucial importance of early detection in managing microbial threats. Ricciardi and colleagues suggest that portable real-time DNA sequencing technologies, coupled with databases of known organismal contaminants, could enable rapid responses.

Despite their value for space biosecurity, the authors state that invasion biologists have yet to be involved in Committee on Space Research planning. This should change soon, they argue, because “greater collaboration between invasion biologists and astrobiologists would enhance existing international protocols for planetary biosecurity—both for Earth and for extraterrestrial bodies that could contain life.”

Reference: “Planetary Biosecurity: Applying Invasion Science to Prevent Biological Contamination from Space Travel” by Anthony Ricciardi, Phillip Cassey, Stefan Leuko and Andrew P Woolnough, 17 November 2021, BioScience.
DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biab115

12 Comments on "Scientists Warn of “Alien” Invasions and the Need for Planetary Biosecurity"

  1. Only the pathetic human would think an alien race that is probably a 1,000 yrs more advanced would think they’re gonna trek how many light years to get here so they can smear man across our highways & then calling the blood their touch at art. Gad we have some real baboons trying to pass themselves off as humans on this planet.

  2. As I like to say, our moon would be a good place to set up an exobiology lab.

  3. Deborah Wheeler Morales | November 17, 2021 at 8:14 am | Reply

    Your defined ‘demons’ can only exist if the matter in your multi-verses is actually usable in the actual dimensions available to us in ours. So, calling this science is doing so without the assistance of probability maths that could save everyone time, wear, and tear on their old frights/flights (pun intended).
    Do deep dives like this to generate grants/funding ‘open pockets’ actually work? Apparently so, as they are ‘pushed’ as science by the ‘scientific community’ information thugs, who market it to sell like crack to an unsuspecting population.

  4. Only a sub-human would not realize the danger

  5. Just like covid it’s all lies… People better wake up…

  6. “Protocols for early detection, hazard assessment, rapid response, and containment procedures currently employed for invasive species on Earth could be adapted for dealing with potential extraterrestrial contaminants.”

    Those protocols don’t even work adequately for home-grown invasive organisms, let alone totally unknown exobiology.

  7. Sorry
    I thought this article was boring couldn’t even finish it seriously just get to the point

  8. Some people’s attention span is very limited. Please keep stories short and to the point. Big words used is not advised.

  9. Quit xploding things on the moon. Quit experimenting all the time. Keep it up and you will contaminate the whole planet.

  10. When we look to DNA. it seems like all living existance on earth come from single source. It means no alien has ever visit earth in last 2 billion years. I dont think after humans exploited so much earth sources, any alien (if exist) might think about invade here. Also their cell structures might be way different than us. If they come to earth their microbes will travel with them and probably devastate earth. There is No point for an alien to visit earth.

  11. There is space ships. When I was small my brother and I where going home with my sister her husband. And one landed in the field and her husband said do you want to stop and watch it. She said no.
    But they can be in the sky and they will set there and the next thing they will be somewhere else. You will see it go.

  12. There is space ships. When I was small my brother and I where going home with my sister her husband. And one landed in the field and her husband said do you want to stop and watch it. She said no.
    But they can be in the sky and they will set there and the next thing they will be somewhere else. You will see it go.

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