One of the big worries about sending pigs, I mean probes, in space is that human microbes will pollute the worlds they'll explore, potentially wiping out innocent alien civilizations and destroying otherworldly environments. And the UN can prevent this. Evidently, there's a treaty:
I guess my idea of huge space barges full of garbage won't fly. Why are we giving a crap about this? Aren't life forms from other planets always smarter than us? It seems excessive to worry about them getting sick from us.
However far in the future such technologies may be, it is worth thinking about the potential problem of contaminating other solar systems with Earth life, according to a new paper by Charles Cockell of the Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research at Open University in Milton Keynes, UK.
Why should we take the trouble to avoid such interstellar contamination? First, there is the "utilitarian desire to preserve examples of other life of potentially enormous scientific interest", Cockell says. In previous writings, he has also argued that humans have an ethical responsibility to avoid harming life in other solar systems.
There may also be a legal issue. NASA's planetary protection officer, Cassie Conley, notes that the 1967 outer space treaty stipulates that countries should avoid "harmful contamination" of the Moon and other celestial bodies.
To respect the treaty, NASA follows guidelines for planetary protection set out by a Paris-based group of international experts called the Council on Space Research (COSPAR), which advises the United Nations and promotes international cooperation on space research.
UPDATE: Via reader DiorJohnnyBravo--Did someone say "Pig's in Space?"
I do worry about the worlds in other dimensions. You know, the parallel universe where my twin lives. Cross-pollinating disease between dimensions seems like a bad idea.