If it were to end up on Mars, Elon Musk's space car, Tesla Roadster, could infect the planet with record amounts of terrestrial bacteria that endanger local biological life, scientists from the Purdue University have warned.
In the statement scientists point out that NASA understood the danger of land-borne bacteria falling on other planets and therefore ensures that all it spacecraft sent to the Moon or Mars, were processed and sterilised.
Elon Musk's Red Tesla Roadster, which was launched by Space Explorer, however, has not gone through such a preparation, and the risks it carries are enormous. "Saturation of bacteria in Tesla can be considered as a biogas or a backup of life on Earth," said Alina Aleksenova, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Purdue, who works in a laboratory which specialises in the freezing of bacteria and biological materials, Sofia News Agency reported.
"If Mars has a biological life, we risk mixing with bacteria from the Earth," Jay Mellush, a professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the same educational institution also alerted.
"Will the Earth's organisms be too adaptable and pollute the Red Planet so much that we can never again understand what its biosphere originally was, or will it not be able to adapt at all?" The truth is we do not know ", also admits Mellush.
The car is in an orbit that crosses the orbits of Earth and Mars, and it will probably end up striking Earth, but it could be millions of years before that happens, he said.
According to commentators, extreme temperatures, low pressure, and unfiltered cosmic radiation make space an inhospitable environment for living organisms.
However, they are not always killed by the conditions and some bacteria go dormant in the vacuum of space and wake up again when conditions are right.