Catherine Conley is America’s representative of the first line of defense for earth against alien invasions, but, it’s not as glamourous as it sounds.
— Inside Space (@GoInsideSpace) October 6, 2015
Enter Catharine Conley, who, since 2006, has been the stalwart defender of the Earth. She doesn’t get to fire a laser gun or pilot a cool spaceship, but her job involves keeping the Earth safe from aliens that could kill us all.
The problem with microscopic life forms centers around disease resistance—or, more importantly, a lack thereof.
We might not notice that our hands are covered in tiny germs because we’ve developed an immunity to them, but take them elsewhere in the universe, and we could potentially unleash a deadly illness on the landscape that could wipe out any native life forms that could exist there.
This is essentially the point of the ending of War of the Worlds—Wells’ story is a metaphor for colonialism, with alien invaders neglecting to realize the effects that local micro-organisms can have on an unprepared immune system.
This happens all the time in real life—if you’ve ever been on a journey far from home, you might have been advised to avoid drinking the local water, just in case an otherwise harmless local bug messes with your unprepared immune system.
“We know from experience of moving organisms around on Earth that invasive species can have unexpected and unintended consequences,” Conley said.
“Assuring Earth’s safety from extraterrestrial biohazards is the highest priority for planetary protection.”
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