Just as the Martians in HG Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds are finally slain by “disease bacteria” on Earth, scientists now suggest humans and other mammals could struggle to fight germs from other planets.
Given the right conditions and mixture of elements, it is conceivable that microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses could exist beyond Earth, and there are plans to search for signs of them on Mars and some of Saturn and Jupiter’s moons.
Amino acids are the fundamental organic compounds which form the basis for all life as we know it, and are made up of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
Scientists from the universities of Aberdeen and Exeter tested how mammal immune cells responded to peptides containing two amino acids that are rare on Earth but are commonly found on meteorites.
The amino acids “isovaline” and “α-aminoisobutyric acid” were introduced to mice, which have immune systems similar to humans.