Epidemiologists have been sounding the alarm for years that the expansion of the population into new territories, such as the Amazon, is associated with the possibility of infection with previously unknown viruses, which have a much more dangerous pandemic potential than SARS-CoV-2. It is no different with space missions, during which we can transfer viruses, fungi or bacteria to alien Earth objects. While agencies make sure that doesn't happen, there's really no way to prevent it completely (see here).
Many scientists fear that the latest OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa-2 missions, although groundbreaking for humanity and its solar system research, could pose a serious threat to it this time. The American vehicle took rock samples from the asteroid Bennu, while the Japanese Hayabusa-2 from the asteroid Ryugu. Both objects are on a collision course with the Earth and are themselves a threat to us.
Astrobiologists believe that these types of objects can be cosmic sowers of life. This is what the famous theory of panspermia says. One of the asteroids billions of years ago could have hit the Earth and provided it with the building blocks of life, from which simple organisms were later formed by chemical reactions, and then humans evolved. In the rock samples that travel to our planet on the decks of probes, cinema scanner may be material that threatens us.
The experts are looking forward to analyzing the rock samples. There, they expect to make groundbreaking discoveries that could completely change our understanding of the world and rewrite the history of the evolution of life on our planet. Despite high euphoria, scientists have some concerns about the safety of mankind.
The samples will be delivered to the Earth's surface in special capsules. The problem is that they can be damaged during transport in the Earth's atmosphere. If this happens, and the rock material contains forms of life alien to us, it may lead to a very dangerous situation that brings to mind scenes of a global cataclysm from sci-fi movies. But let's hope it doesn't.
The landing of the capsule with samples from the asteroid Ryugu is scheduled for December 6 this year in Australia, while the capsules with samples from the asteroid Bennu in September 2023 in the state of Utah, USA.