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TIL: We Could Give Mars Our "Cooties" | Today I Learned

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 Astronomy   |   Biology   |   Health   |   Science
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Catching "cooties"—it's not just fodder for playground politics. What if a single hair on your head, the oils on your fingertips, or one of the thousands of droplets of saliva you expel each time you cough had the potential to jeopardize a multibillion-dollar interplanetary mission?
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About TIL (Today I Learned):
Love crazy facts? We do too. Get ready to amaze your friends with some of the strangest facts you’ve ever heard. National Geographic explorers tell you new, obscure, and amazing things about the world (and beyond).

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About National Geographic:
National Geographic is the world's premium destination for science, exploration, and adventure. Through their world-class scientists, photographers, journalists, and filmmakers, Nat Geo gets you closer to the stories that matter and past the edge of what's possible.

Catching "cooties"—it's not just fodder for playground politics. What if a single hair on your head, the oils on your fingertips, or one of the thousands of droplets of saliva you expel each time you cough had the potential to jeopardize a multibillion-dollar interplanetary mission? This fear hits far too close to home for every NASA scientist who helps build the Mars rovers or any other instrument destined for outer space.

Mars hasn't received an "Earth vaccine," so if too much earthly biological material gets transferred from the scientists to the rovers to Mars, those Earth germs could have devastating effects—not only on the success of NASA's missions but to the red planet as a whole.

NASA mechanical engineer Kobie Boykins, who helped design all four rovers that have landed on Mars, explains how we could infect Mars and what precautions NASA takes against doing so, and he reminds us what happened in the past when scientists didn't keep their ""cooties"" to themselves.

Read more about making Mars home in the latest issue of National Geographic magazine and watch MARS, the global event series on National Geographic.
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/11/spacex-elon-musk-exploring-mars-planets-space-science/
http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/mars/

PRODUCERS: Nora Rappaport and Laurence Alexander
EDITOR: Nora Rappaport
SERIES PRODUCER: Chris Mattle
ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS: Elaina Kimes and Jared M. Gair
FOOTAGE COURTESY: NASA

TIL: We Could Give Mars Our "Cooties" | Today I Learned
https://youtu.be/Ez_vSfbuNYw

National Geographic
https://www.youtube.com/natgeo

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