When alien invasions are thought of, the first thing that comes to mind is a mighty fleet, massive monsters, war machines, and battles for Earth’s very survival. However, there is an alien threat that not many people have thought about, but NASA is searching for ways to fight it every single day.
Alien bacteria, if left unchecked, could destroy any colonies that humanity sends out and even cause a massive plague on Earth. Much like how invasive species behave on Earth and can destroy a habitat with no predator species to keep the population in check, the same thing can happen to other planets.
Organisms can survive anywhere, and if a bacteria or organism hitches a ride on a spacecraft and infects Mars or Earth, then it can cause some serious problems.
History makes it so.
The Black Death was caused very much the same way. Fleas from Asia that carried the disease got on rats that followed Mongol and other armies as they marched towards the west, as well as traders that traveled down the Silk Road and ships docking in European ports.
This introduced the disease to Europe and caused a massive crisis, and the same thing can happen in the future. With organisms traveling via spacecraft to different ports, it wouldn’t be uncommon for diseases to spread across planets.
It can be especially dangerous if a disease from Mars that no one knows about comes to Earth and cannot be treated by earthly medicine, which could cause a massive health crisis. Or if a Martian colony is infected and Earth is too far away to send any help in a timely manner.
How it is being fought.
NASA has been focusing on how to safely decontaminate ships and people, with the levels of decontamination increasing the more life is found on other planets, their satellites or meteors. Even one potential bug getting loose on an unprepared ecosystem could wreak havoc.
Studies are also being done to see how earthborn diseases grow and multiply in space, as many diseases become far stronger in environments with no gravity. NASA also regularly inspects its satellites to ensure that they do not contaminate local planets, even destroying one that was getting older and had the potential to infect Saturn or one of its moons.
Other ways of combating disease include different levels of decontamination for robots and crews, with planets that support even the smallest level of life being off limits to any ‘unclean’ probe or satellite.
With more and more space travel predicted to happen in the near future, the teams at NASA will be getting busier and busier as the potential for infection increases with every probe or rocket launched from Earth.
These small microorganisms and bugs might seem harmless in theory, but behind the scenes, a deadly war is being waged to ensure that they do not destroy entire planets or cause an extinction level event that could have serious consequences for Earth.