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NASA To Launch Bacteria Filled Balloons During Eclipse


NASA To Launch Bacteria Filled Balloons During Eclipse

While one concern of today’s total solar eclipse is people starting directly into the sun and blinding themselves, a new concern has been raised involving NASA launching bacteria filled balloons into the skies above us. During the eclipse, NASA and Montana State University intend to send balloons filled with bacteria up into our skies. In fact, the total number of balloons will be 75 (give or take).

While this might sound as though it isn’t true, the story is being reported on Sputniknews.com

Of the 75 or so balloons, 30 will carry a highly resilient strain of bacteria called Paenibacillus xerothermodurans attached to aluminum “coupons.” Scientist are wanting to discover how this toxic bacteria will react with Mars.

“We have to be extremely careful that we don’t bring bacteria or other tiny Earth organisms to other planets,” project leader and Director of the Montana Space Grant Consortium Angela Des Jardins, told Gizmodo.

“While most of these tiny forms of life that exist in abundance around us won’t survive the trip through space, it’s understood that some resilient types could ‘go dormant’ on the trip and then survive on the surface of the other planet. Therefore, in order to be prepared to keep planets, we visit absolutely pristine, it’s important to understand how bacteria might behave there.”

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“Analysis of the bacteria experiment will be done by scientists at Cornell and it will likely be a month or two before results are ready. Analysis of the atmospheric response to the eclipse (from our special set of weather balloons) will similarly take a month or two.”

I’m not sure how comfortable I am with NASA sending balloons filled with bacteria into our skies above. The concept, from their perspective, is to study life’s resilience on Mars. If life were to exist on Mars, we’d certainly be seen as a nefarious alien life form to them. This is the same NASA that’s decided to mess with Yellowstone’s magma chambers.

Photo by Cornerstone Cellars, Napa Valley

Author: Jim Satney

PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.