Some terrestrial bacteria can revive after decades in space, so landing a bacteria-laden human on the planet could erase the potential for one of the greatest discoveries in human history

The discovery of organic material that could be the remains of, or served as food for, ancient life on Mars is extremely exciting, but bitter-sweet (Mars rover finds signs of life … from 3bn years ago, 8 June). Companies such as SpaceX are hell-bent on putting human beings on the planet. But as reported, due to cyclical methane plumes, it is still unclear whether Mars is indeed a dead world today.

Related: Nasa Mars rover finds organic matter in ancient lake bed

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Read More Don’t let bacteria-laden humans contaminate Mars | Letter

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