'Alien' biosphere immune system effects

In summary: So I think we could do just as much harm if we didn’t take the time to learn about the ecology and the biology of the new world we are going to be living on.
  • #1
Gondur
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Hello,

Suppose we humans traveled in a spacecraft to another Earth like planet with the same gravity and atmospheric composition as our own Earth.

Suppose we landed on the surface.

Suppose we opened the door of the craft, and walked onto the planet surface.

Suppose we did not wear a spacesuit - or any protection - aside from 'normal clothing' (jeans and t-shirt).

Suppose we inhale a couple of breaths.

Would we quickly collapse and die?

I assume that, because we (and our ancestors) - our DNA - has not evolved over millions of years within the biosphere of the alien world, our immune system has not developed an immunity to the millions of microbes floating in its atmosphere - equivalent microbes which here on Earth pose no threat to us - but are slightly different in their design and function on this new world that our immune system simply cannot recognise them and is vulnerable to them.

So, my point is, even if we found an Earth like world - with similar gravity, atmospheric composition etc - this similarly is only superficial - and its biosphere - especially life at the microbial level - would make moving and colonising this planet impossible - unless we develop immunity to its biosphere as we have done here on Earth.

Some thought is appreciated. Thanks.
 
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  • #2
Moved to general discussion. Most reasonable answers would involve guesswork, which is not okay in the Science forums.
 
  • #3
Gondur said:
Would we quickly collapse and die?

Not in the span of a few seconds to a few minutes, no. If would take time for any alien organisms to multiple enough to seriously harm us. At least a few hours probably, but I suppose a particular pathogen could produce a by-product that turns out to be a very potent nerve toxin or something. That might take less than an hour to kill us if the pathogen multiplied quickly enough.

Gondur said:
I assume that, because we (and our ancestors) - our DNA - has not evolved over millions of years within the biosphere of the alien world, our immune system has not developed an immunity to the millions of microbes floating in its atmosphere - equivalent microbes which here on Earth pose no threat to us - but are slightly different in their design and function on this new world that our immune system simply cannot recognise them and is vulnerable to them.

Our immune systems have a variety of ways to recognize foreign microbes, viruses, etc. It's possible that our immune system would be able to recognize that these microbes are foreign and would be able to deal with them. Of course it's also possible that it wouldn't be able to. Or that it can recognize some of the microbes, but not all.

Gondur said:
So, my point is, even if we found an Earth like world - with similar gravity, atmospheric composition etc - this similarly is only superficial - and its biosphere - especially life at the microbial level - would make moving and colonising this planet impossible - unless we develop immunity to its biosphere as we have done here on Earth.

That' certainly a possibility. Of course, the reverse is also true. It may be that the life on a particular planet is super-vulnerable to the microbes that normally live on and in our bodies.
 
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  • #4
First, no one would walk out of a spaceship onto an alien planet without protective gear and running tests first. Of course we can only test for known toxins. Doubtful anyone would keel over and die with their first unprotected breath, but yes, there could be things in the environment that could eventually cause illness and possibly death. As Jim said there is nothing else we can say here that's not a guess.
 
  • #5
We are as likely to damage the new environment with our first exhalations, I would think.
We could easily extinguish a number of species but the effect might be some time after all our expedition members were dead.
At least the current Mars projects are taking a bit of care in this respect. So much so that the Mars X rover has a planned landing site that's not the best for the any actual life forms that may be found.
But explorers of all types have seldom had much regard for the ecology of the places they visit.
 
  • #6
Gondur said:
Would we quickly collapse and die?
Similar to traveling between countries on Earth, it's important to get your shots first... :wink:
 
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  • #7
berkeman said:
Similar to traveling between countries on Earth, it's important to get your shots first... :wink:
Europeans didn’t bother with that stuff and decimated (and worse) many native populations in the New World.
 

Related to 'Alien' biosphere immune system effects

1. What is the 'alien' biosphere immune system?

The 'alien' biosphere immune system refers to the complex network of biological processes and mechanisms that protect organisms from foreign substances or pathogens in their environment. It is crucial for the survival and well-being of all living beings, including potential extraterrestrial life forms.

2. How does the 'alien' biosphere immune system work?

The 'alien' biosphere immune system works by recognizing and responding to foreign substances or pathogens through a series of reactions and interactions between various cells, tissues, and organs. This includes the production of antibodies, activation of specific immune cells, and other defense mechanisms.

3. What are the potential effects of the 'alien' biosphere immune system on humans?

The potential effects of the 'alien' biosphere immune system on humans are still largely unknown since we have not encountered extraterrestrial life forms. However, it is possible that their immune system may be significantly different from ours, making it difficult for our bodies to defend against potential infections or diseases.

4. Can the 'alien' biosphere immune system pose a threat to humans?

It is unlikely that the 'alien' biosphere immune system would pose a direct threat to humans. However, if we were to come into contact with extraterrestrial life forms, there is a possibility of our immune systems reacting negatively to each other, leading to potential health consequences.

5. How can we prepare for potential interactions with the 'alien' biosphere immune system?

As we continue to explore and potentially encounter extraterrestrial life forms, it is important for scientists to research and understand the 'alien' biosphere immune system. This can help us better prepare for potential interactions and mitigate any health risks that may arise.

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