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POLLUTING THE UNIVERSE

JAMA. 1966;197(13):1096. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110130096027.
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ABSTRACT

Here on Earth every object, every surface is "contaminated"; bacteria and viruses are ubiquitous. Since these organisms have evolved along with the rest of us, our resistance is high to the vast majority. We are accustomed to the presence of microorganisms and indeed could not survive without them.

However, we know nothing about the ecology of other planets. We do not even know with certainty that any form of life exists anywhere else in the universe, although statistically the likelihood is extraordinarily high. And the discovery of any form of life on any other planet will strengthen the belief that there are, throughout the universe, many life-bearing planets. The search for life has a high priority in plans for future exploration of the solar system, and at the present time Mars seems without question to be the planet most likely to possess biological activity.

Incredibly complex problems must be solved

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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