CURIOSITY HAS THE CURE
Mars rover discovers life, and the solution to carbon congestion
There’s an old saying: “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity!”
Well, the Mars Science Laboratory, better known as the rover Curiosity, has a potential cure for one of our great challenges here on earth – what to do about the rising levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
The first revealing discovery by Curiosity, that there was once life, in the form of ancient algae and bacteria, on the red planet, was greeted with only mild fanfare, as it had been so widely predicted by the mission scientists. Now a startling new discovery of a living micro-organism on Mars has set the world abuzz.
The Martian bug resembles anaerobic bacteria, but is unique in that it only consumes carbon dioxide, and nothing else. Mars’s atmosphere is 95% carbon dioxide, providing the perfect habitat. Could it also flourish here, and gobble up all our unwanted carbon?
Importing an alien life form onto our planet sounds insanely risky – the unintended consequences could be devastating. But perhaps we can learn enough from analyzing this bacterium to genetically produce something similar – a carbon consuming little fungus that could be spread far and wide, gradually depleting our air of its excess CO2. And surely the organism would be self-regulating, dying back when carbon levels are low?
Could it be that Curiosity has discovered a cure? Or are we just too obsessed with our ability to control our environment, and life on earth itself?
Warning: Hazardous thinking at work
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