Microbial experts are claiming that human corpses floating in space could lead to life forming elsewhere in the solar system.
The bizarre warning comes from microbial expert Gary King who said: “A corpse could deliver microbes to a planet.”
He added: “We’ve pulled microbes out of permafrost and there we’re talking about organisms surviving around one million years in suspended animation.”
The scientist said if astronauts were making a trip somewhere relatively close to earth, such as Mars, then bacterial spores in the human body would definitely survive.
He said that a lone body in space would be pulled in by the gravity of a planet and would not arrive intact as it entered the atmosphere.
However, he added that if a spacecraft filled with dead astronauts made entry into a planet’s atmosphere, then it could be that microbes might survive as they reached the planet itself.
He explained: “When you talk about one-million-plus years with little radiation shielding, then I’d say we’re talking about a very limited possibility of microbial survival. But I won’t say impossible, if you only need one of the vast number of microbes on the human body to survive the trip.”
It is a strange prediction about how life might spring up elsewhere in space, which comes as Space X proposes to begin work again which could eventually lead to a colony on Mars.
The private spaceflight firm suffered a major setback when its Falcon 9 craft exploded in September.
But it says it has now investigated to the point that it is ready to get back on with its programme.
The company is due to start testing again in Texas in just a few days with a view to starting flights by the end of this year.
California headquartered Space X says the likely cause of the accident was down to pressure vessels inside an oxygen tank.
The firm was founded 14 years ago by the Tesla Motors CEO and former PayPal entrepreneur Elon Musk who has the ambitious goal of coming up with the technology needed to reduce the cost of space transport, and enable Mars to be colonised.
Resuming testing is an important step in regaining the confidence of investors, who need to be sure that such accidents will not be frequent happenings, but a one-off on the path to the firm’s ultimate goal.