Is the next pandemic from space? There is no evidence that the next pandemic will come from space yet. But being prepared is always worth it. Let’s find out the possibilities and why we must care of it.
As humanity journey riskily further and gets going in permanent residencies in space, retorting to a pandemic in space or a virus stemming from space are real and pressing questions to be addressed. Such possible sources causing space-based pandemics are asteroids, meteors, comets, space dust, and water from space. Additionally space travelers and spacecraft.
Larry Brilliant, the great epidemiologist said, “outbreaks are inevitable, but pandemics are optional.” To avoid a worse pandemic in the future, we should ensure global health, being prepared for such potential threats. If it’s not, the result has been catastrophic. The last pandemic COVID-19 caused impacts on everyway drastically.
Viral Hitchhikers on Asteroids and Comets
Asteroids and comets revolve around the sun in elliptical orbits. They often rotate irregularly and fall through space. While collisions between Earth and these asteroids and comets are rare, they impact Earth causing shock waves, heat radiation, tsunamis, and more climatic changes.
Although we haven’t discovered life on another planet in this Universe, there could be life under the conditions necessary for the existence of life. Likewise, microscopic organisms could reach the Earth through objects traveling through space like asteroids and comets.
Assume an asteroid from space packed with harmful virus headed directly to the Earth!
Surely it’s the scenario waving for the next pandemic globally. If it’s early detected, it allows for faster action saving time, preventing complications and rapid worsening of the virus or any other disease.
Microbes in Space Dust- Tiny Threats from the Earth
Space dust occurs in outer space including interplanetary dust particles. They are the particles from asteroids, comets, and other objects in space, smaller than 0.1mm in diameter.
A new study by a University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy researcher, Professor Arjun Berera suggests space dust frequently batter Earth’s atmosphere could carry microbes.
“Some bacteria, plants, and small animals called tardigrades are known to be able to survive in space, so it is possible that such organisms — if present in Earth’s upper atmosphere — might collide with fast-moving space dust and withstand a journey to another planet”
Could the hidden form of microbes survive in dust and reach Earth agitating the next pandemic? To overcome such space-based threats, it’s essential to confirm the results of experiments done to recover microbes of space origin.
Water from Space- Meteorites as Carriers of Microbes
Meteorites are shards broken from larger objects like comets and asteroids. Modern researches reveal that Hydrogen-rich space rocks like meteorites and micro-meteorites are also included in the sources of water on the Earth.
Water balloons from the cosmos are arriving, but they might not be as good as all that!
It’s possible life form-microbes could survive in water-rich spots. They might have the same biological origin as life on Earth.
Because of a lack of preparedness and resilience, the last pandemic- COVID-19 spread globally and caused the worst impacts including thousands of deaths. Therefore better prepared for the next pandemic or even to prevent it, is very significant.
Assessing the Risk- Is a Space-Based Pandemic Possible?
There’s a probability of a space-based pandemic due to the possibility of existing microbes in space and their reaching the Earth. They could force the extinction of many species on the Earth. Human beings too. They are pathogens and need a host to develop. As they are out of this world, they might not be resistant to the immune system’s responses. They might replicate quietly and spread widely causing a massive pandemic. That’s the reason why we should have essential preparedness.
Additionally, there should be proper procedures to avoid the contamination of space microbes. For example, returning spacecraft might carry space microbes. So essential actions should be taken like quarantines, extensive life detections, and biohazard protocols.
Our experience with COVID-19 gives clear guidance for how to be ready for the next pandemic. We don’t need to live in fear thinking about it. If we contribute that benefits everyone by being prepared and staying updated with recent research and news, COVID-19 could be the last pandemic ever.
Conclusion- We’re Earthlings, But the Universe Isn’t Free From Surprises!
There’s only a probability of a next space-based pandemic. Because of the inspection actions and measures, there’s no relevant chance of contamination of microbes. Additionally, the experience of COVID-19 won’t let it cause a severe pandemic. Therefore being prepared is very essential to manage the situation.
We have the power against anything the cosmos pitches toward us. Let’s take bold steps to protect our planet together!
There is a 27% chance of another COVID-like pandemic within 10 years according to forecasts.
249 Pandemics throughout recorded history from 1,200 BC.
Preparing for future pandemics includes strengthening the whole chain of the outbreak response.