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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

Colonizing Mars Means Contaminating Mars, and Never Knowing for Sure If It Had Its Own Native Life


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Colonizing Mars

Once people get there, Mars will be contaminated with Earth life.

Credit: NASA/Pat Rawlings

The closest place in the universe where extraterrestrial life might exist is Mars, and human beings are poised to attempt to colonize this planetary neighbor within the next decade.

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