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Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/08/2010 10:11 PM

The recent news of some arsenic integrating lifeforms on Earth, and evidence that wherever there is water, there is life, plus the hardiness of cockroaches and other insects makes me wonder what life on Earth could be shipped to Mars to live.

Should I care if we ship some bugs to Mars as an invasive species in a micro rocket, just cause we can, to see what happens, eventually, or as a legacy?

Anybody know what Earth creature is most suited for life on Mars?

P.S. I don't think humans as we are are much really suited for naked life on Mars, or really in outerspace at all.

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#1

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/08/2010 10:37 PM

If ever there was a reason for Mars to attack the Earth, it would be because we sent cockroaches to Mars.

Considering the amount of effort mankind (in general) puts in to controlling if not eradicating cockroaches, I'm sure the martains would not appreciate the "gift"..

That said, cockroaches are an opportunistic survivor and may well eke out an existence on Mars.

As for humans it is not enough to merely survive, we must succeed. Mars in its current state would not sustain us for very long. It would be an interesting place to visit, not so sure about staying there though..

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#2

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 9:38 AM

We have enough problems with introduction of non-native species in areas of our own world. You want to introduce one to a totally different world. Have we not learned our lesson it that regard here at home.

I think the introduction of one species to Mars will be enough. Man if or when he ever makes it.

Man has shown great fortitude in exploring and living in adverse conditions. Though we may not be suited that never stopped us before.

Oh and cockroaches will make it to Mars soon enough with out us shipping them there on purpose. Just as they have done before they with stowaway with humans on their visits there. Along with the rats and mice. Bed bugs too. Lice! The list goes on.

So until then if any species want to go to Mars let them find their on way there.

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#3

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 10:22 AM

Roaches? no, nowhere NEAR enough oxygen. But bacteria? sure.

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#4

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 10:36 AM

I'm beginning to seriously wonder about the fundamental Science education available today. Cockroaches are insects. All insects are animals. All animals get their energy by consuming something. Some animals (carnivores) eat mostly other animals. Some animals (herbivores) eat mostly plants. Some animals (omnivores) will eat anything they can. Now a cockroach is an exceptional omnivore that has adapted brilliantly to the our society. This is why anywhere that man lives, these efficient scavengers thrive. Only plants can convert sunlight to energy. A cockroach or any Earth originated insect on Mars will surely die. One must first establish some plant life on Mars that converts some energy source to food. The most abundant energy source here on Earth is solar energy. Geothermal plumes do also feed the bottom of some parts of the ocean. Nobody has yet to identify any plant that can convert any energy source that exists on Mars into food.

Without sustained plant life there cannot be sustained animal life.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 12:20 PM

Maybe I'm not reading it right or am just ignorant...

One must first establish some plant life on Mars that converts some energy source to food.

Sounds good...

The most abundant energy source here on Earth is solar energy.

I'll buy that for a nickel...

Nobody has yet to identify any plant that can convert any energy source that exists on Mars into food.

Is there not sunlight on Mars?

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 12:48 PM

Why yes, there is sunlight on Mars. As you point out, you are not reading my sentence right. Allow me to first re-quote my sentence.

Nobody has yet to identify any plant that can convert any energy source that exists on Mars into food.

The focus or critical point of this sentence is not the existence of any energy source on the planet Mars. The point is that no known plant exists on Mars to convert any energy including sunlight to food.

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 1:11 PM

I believe a number of single celled algae could probably find niches in the martian permafrost. Some anerobic bacteria probably could as well.

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 1:29 PM

Well phrased and I agree but those few locations would certainly not feed a starving cockroach. Mars' atmosphere reportedly has less that 0.2% oxygen so probably the bugger would smother long before he starved.

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 1:50 PM

Granted, it is NOW, but if we were to contaminate Mars with Earth bacteria that converts CO2 to O2 and releases CH4 as well, there may at some point in the future where the partial pressure of O2 may be high enough to support more complex life forms.

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#27
In reply to #11

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 6:08 AM

If we send enough of these dreadful insects say millions, the ones that die off first could feed the remaining, Kind of a "Soylent Green" effect. That is if they can get enough water.

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#9
In reply to #6

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 1:15 PM

Mars has an abundance of CO2 (food) and sunlight/energy (as already determined)...

The hump I see is the cold and lack of a water cycle (due to the cold?). Even the hardiest life requires water.

Maybe we need to ship some "super" greenhouse gasses over first (even feasible?), let it warm up a bit, and see if a water cycle could be established.

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 1:40 PM

A 95% carbon dioxide atmosphere is not enough green house gasses to warm the planet now. The sunlight that people seem to think as abundant on Mars is only about 43% as intense as what we get here on a good day. With the average orbit distance from the sun at 1.523AU and the inverse square relationship for light propagating through space that's all that Mars gets.

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 1:55 PM

if methane producing bacteria were to get a toehold it may be possible to raise the temp high enough to melt enough of the dry ice at the poles to cause a chain reaction that results in melting most if not all of them. Were that to happen the atmospheric pressure may be high enough and warm enough for liquid water to exist in come places. If terraforming is ever to be possible, bacteria must be the primary means of doing it.

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#15
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 2:11 PM

I don't know. If all of the polar dry ice sublimed would the pressure rise or would more gas be lost to the vacuum of space. There has to be enough solid mass to hold an atmosphere to the surface.

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#16
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 2:18 PM

Eventually yes, it would outgas, but the back of the envelope math I've seen suggests that the pressure may be high enough that a human could walk about with nothing more than shirtsleeves and an oxygen mask for at least a millenia. by that time we should be able to send a few comets marsward to supplement the losses. but I didn't do or check the math myself so I could be wrong.

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#17
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 2:33 PM

A few millennia. Now how long do you think terraforming will take? Unless the sublimation of the poles can happen at least ten times faster than the proposed gravitational atmospheric equilibrium time constant of a few millennia there really won't be a pressure increase. There certainly won't be any food or usable air for a cockroach, regardless.

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#19
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 7:17 PM

Methods for terraforming Venus and Mars have been somewhat discussed in Sci Fi of the past century. I've forgotten some of the scientific details. Seems I am left with a remember that while Mars is more Earthlike of Solar System planets, Venus was a better terraforming project.

Personally I myself am for making up life that could thrive on Mars or Venus.

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#20
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 8:14 PM

You'd need to put Ceres and probably quite a few other large asteroids in orbit around Venus to pull off enough atmosphere to bring the pressure and temperature down enough to work with it.

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#22
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 10:41 PM

Might be "simpler" to suck up and 'space truck' surplus Venus atmoshere over to Mars?

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#34
In reply to #22

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 11:47 AM

Instantly, Deep Purple's "Space Trucking" track comes to mind......rattling around inside my noggin'.....

Now I'm really dating myself! LOL

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 1:03 PM

The answer redfred gave prompted me to check on Martian Soil. The Wiki article linked indicates 'Soil' is not quite the correct term, as there has been no organic matter discovered in any sample to date. Thus, the surface of Mars is (as far as we know) sterile. The comment "One must first establish some plant life on Mars..." gets a deserved GA from me, because it establishes (maybe demonstrates is a better word) a precursor that will not occur. Yes, there is sunlight, but until roaches can convert sunlight directly to sustenance there will be no successful invasion.

Did I get that right redfred?

[edit] Took me a while to compose, I see redfred has already responded.

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#10
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 1:23 PM

"because it establishes (maybe demonstrates is a better word) a precursor that will not occur."

That may not be the case forever. If manned flights to mars ever to come to pass, there will almost certainly be inadvertent bacterial contamination that occurs. the bacteria will be earth bacteria of course, but it may jumpstart the eventual terraformation of mars.

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#18
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 3:25 PM

...but there IS life on Mars...

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#44
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/19/2010 9:42 PM

ROFLMAO

GREAT POST!!!!

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#21

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 10:32 PM

I have found hares living on Uranus.

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#23

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 10:53 PM

Dont think we should take too much live there. We will contaminate the planet for ever and will never be able to investigate it in it current wounderful state.

Said that read some stuff about Guam and the missing Birds or Australia holds a lot of examples of species brought in and being devastating for the native animals.

On teh other handside we will never be able to stop migration and if it is microbes and stuff.

Now here is my question: Should we ever bring a lifeform of Mars to Earth to study it further? How much devastation on Earth is this bringing?

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#24

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 11:16 PM

Let us put a proposal to NASA.

I am ready to give those from my place.. free of charge

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#25

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/09/2010 11:39 PM

Mars is a planet on decline. Arguably we could say the same of all planets. What I mean to say is that Mars was once a thriving planet with an atmosphere. At this point in its history it may well have had biological life of some sort and it is probable that it did. During its early history, Mars had a molten core and active volcanoes. It likely also had a magnetic field. Because it is a relatively small planet, it was not able to hold onto its atmosphere and it was lost to space. It is possible the life forms were bacterial (likely still too cool and hostile for anything much bigger). The latest space exploration is in fact looking for bacterial fossils (not easy as they are likely over 1 billion years old and well degraded by the existing environment). There has been some modest success but no one would say the fossils were bacteria.

Today the lake of a magnetic field, the lack of an atmosphere, and the lack of UV protection would all but eliminate the possibility of surface life forms.

There may be some archeabacteria that thrived on Mars. And I would expect that it is still possible there may be some methanogens found at depth on Mars. I could not speculate at what depth but certainly at a depth where pressures would create enough heat for survival. Iron bacteria as a prokaryote may also be possible if there is water available. Iron bacteria will create a protective coating of iron which could shield them from UV and other environmental problems. there is ample evidence for water on Mars and may exist at depth in the liquid form. Eukaryotes or those microbes or algae or larger life forms could not exist on the surface of Mars today for all the reasons stated above.

The cockroach is a eukarote and therefore not possible on Mars.

For those who are interested in more information, Ray Pierrehumbert teaches a course on astro-climates at the university of Chicago and has an interesting book recently published.

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#26

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 12:22 AM

If we, are to place a cockroach on Mars, several issues have to be dealt with:

1 Must be contained but have enough soil to burrow

2 Must be contained in the original container with no possible escape

3 Must be contained

4 Must be contained, if any possibility exists that it can break free.

5 Stop before you begin and forget about it

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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 7:35 AM
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#29

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 7:41 AM

Yes but when those huge mutant Cockroaches come back for revenge WILL YOU BE READY?

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#30

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 8:57 AM

ok, here's the scenario. A container with 1000 cockaroaches is sent to Mars and lands safely. Jar opens and they exit, and explore. they had air and food/water on the trip so they live on the residuals for a short while. Then the lack of air gets a lot of them, but some survive somehow. The few remaining eat each other to survive but then that runs out and they almost all die. But, one or two somehow keep going. (perhaps their feces, combined with inedible roach parts blend with something in the Martain soil - just a guess, but who knows) Yes, to our amazement, we would see that life indeed goes on.

Certainly chances would increase with 10k or a million roaches, but my point is I think we would be suprised that they would indeed find a way to eat, breathe and survive.

My opinion, prove me wrong.

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#31
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 9:33 AM

I'll easily prove you wrong if you fund the research.

What arrogance!!

Your unsubstantiated opinion is worthless.

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#36
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 6:55 PM
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#32

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 10:29 AM

It was commonly known that bacteria couldn't live in the acidic conditions of the stomach; life was contigent on solar energy, not thermal, on and on.

People who dared to have an opinion did not make the discoveries, but kept the thought process alive for those that did.

You may feel my opinion is worthless,

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#33
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 10:47 AM

First, I apologize for any unintended insult I've given you. But you threw an insulting gauntlet down by claiming something that has not been observed will happen and defying others to prove you wrong. Now you defend your wild accusations by citing things that were discovered that were once thought as not possible. That I find highly insulting to both the diligent discoverers and those here who present sound arguments for their opinions. You finish with a direct personal attack on me.

Well you've certainly demonstrated what you are good at.

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#37
In reply to #32

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 8:03 PM

Frankly as the originator of this Thread I'm cranked I somehow missed whatever caused Admin interference in our discussion.

Some say no way a cock-ah-roach could live on Mars. They do thrive around Pizza Parlors, or in Donut bakeries, but can eat cardboard and plastics.

Overall I am more interested in what on Earth could live on Mars naked, than cockroaches per se.

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#38
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 9:27 PM

I'd imagine if you could dig deep enough - humans could

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#39
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 10:03 PM

Making Morlocks?

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#40
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 10:23 PM

Well he did have a feeling for physics that dude, might have even known of 'caisson disease', might have been aware that the atmosphere was 'thin'. One of the more interesting people to have over to dinner - well I think so.

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#41
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Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/11/2010 12:03 AM

I guess this entire debate depends on what one means by living on Mars. Humans have visited space for long periods of time. I'm not quite sure we should call it living though because everything to support life has been brought from Earth to space. It could be argued that this is just like life at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Everything that supports human life has been brought from another continent, usually during good weather.

It would be ironic and tragic if a few breeding cockroaches did sneak into an early Mars expedition. All of the food and oxygen calculations for supplies would be tragically under estimated.

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#43
In reply to #41

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/11/2010 12:46 AM

Yeah well that McMurdo is the new fuzzy green one. Look back a bit and living/surviving in the Antarctic was done slightly differently.

I.e. I reject the analogy, as it never had to be 'fully supplied' - it's just a choice.

Ok so far as we know Mars lacks penguins and seals - but we don't actually know that nothing of any food equivalency exists for certain on Mars, as we don't actually know what could be living below the surface.

And who's to say those little rascals won't hit the caverns running and survive quite happily on bacteria and mold?

Not I. I'd want all the data before 'ruling it out'

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#45
In reply to #43

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/19/2010 10:02 PM

Sending cockroaches to Mars via Micro Rockets by degree might be better than letting dogs die on camera.

Cock a roaches are right tough.

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#35

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/10/2010 12:11 PM

I think the miscom here is my last sentence "My opinion, prove me wrong". If you thought I was actually challenging anyone then my thoughts were not correctly expressed (I thought it was kind of humorous). In retrospect, please consider the last sentence retracted, reread the submission, and consider it an opinion that doesn't require retrobution, just a shrug. Lighten up red.

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#42

Re: Could Cockroaches Live on Mars?

12/11/2010 12:34 AM

The Asteroid Belt is not too far from Mars. To terraform Mars I would consider finding a way to direct ice asteroids to Mars. On entry, some heat may be created to eventually melt the ice. It would take a while, and nobody would want to be down there while the ice meteors were coming down, unless the aim was very good.

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