We all get excited to think about the possibility of life beyond Earth! Isn't it? Well aliens aren't supposed to look like ‘Jaadu’ in Koi mil gaya, or perhaps like microorganisms, bacteria, or even fungi like living organisms. Make no mistake, they can be very dangerous for humanity. Terrifyingly for us, they may come to Earth without even trying. How? The growing demand for space exploration is making it possible for alien organisms to invade our returning spacecrafts and hence our planet too. Space travel is increasing especially since SpaceX, Blue Origin or even Virgin Galactic came into this space. At the same time, it is also increasing the chances of Earth-based organisms invading other planets too, scientists say.

"The search of life beyond our world is an exciting endeavour that could yield an enormous discovery in the not-too-distant future," Anthony Ricciardi, a professor at McGill University in Montreal, told Live Science. "We argue that planets and moons potentially containing life should be treated as if they were insular systems," he added.

Humans have damaged ecosystems all across the world by permitting creatures to invade new places that they would not have been able to reach otherwise. For example, Austropuccinia psidii, a fungus native to South America, has invaded Australia's native eucalyptus trees, restricting their development and even killing them, Live Science reported.

According to the recent paper from the journal BioScience, insular ecosystems that emerge in geographical isolation, such as those on islands and in countries like Australia, are more vulnerable to invading species, because the native wildlife in those areas hasn't evolved adaptations to deal with invaders.

The space agency NASA has been long aware of the fact that biological contamination can pose risks, hence there have been planetary protection policies since the 1960s. However, Ricciardi mentioned that the new era of space exploration such as SpaceX aimed at the search of life posed unprecedented risks. SpaceX aims to travel to Mars with its SpaceX Starship program in search of possible living organisations.

The researchers took the example of Israeli Beresheet spacecraft, which crashed into the moon in 2019 while carrying thousands of tardigrades, microscopic organisms which can even survive the harsh circumstances, including space vacuum, Live Science reported. However, the recent 2021 study published in the journal Astrobiology suggested that the creatures wouldn't have survived the crash but it clearly indicates the potential biological spills on other planets and space.

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