In article <46p6ij$kg8 at newsbf02.news.aol.com>, kardo6 at aol.com (Kardo6) writes:
>> I have heard that viruses can live for thousands of years without dying
>because when not attacking living cells, they do not metabolize. If this
>is true is it concievable that viruses could survive the vacuum and vast
>distances of space and travel between planets, could some of the viruses
Well, first of all, viruses do never metabolize. Tha
Well, first of all, viruses do never metabolize. They simply use the
metabolisation of the cells they 'attack'. Then they can indeed remain virulent
for a long time, for example in freezers at -80C. But virusses are build of
proteins and nucleic acids (DNA/RNA) and sometimes some carbohydrates/lipids.
Especially the nucleic acids (their genetic material) is sensetive to UV and
Xray. These two are available in huge amounts in space. Also the proteins in
which the nucleic acids are contained are sensetive to extreme cold (-270C) as
is found in space.
As a last reason why this theory is highly unlikely, as meteors enter the
earth, they pass the atmosfere in which very high temperatures are reached. If
there is one thing virusses can't stand, it's those temperatures. The way to
make sure equipment is virusfree is to heat it up. Nothing composed of the
buildingmaterials of life can stand those temperatures.
So, nice theory, but in this way, not likely at all,
Wageningen agricultural University
Department of Virology (student)
Wageningen, the Netherlands
Rolf.Marteijn at pilot.student.wau.nl