I realize that only yesterday, I made some mention to us not being too late to fix the problem wherein we are dumb as a bag of hammers, but that was before I read that even smart and highly trained people might be stupider. Maybe there was life on Mars, before we sent our flu bugs to populate it (microbes, bacteria, etc.) but we will never know that now or ever in the future because we've tainted any future findings. I know that sometimes protocol doesn't make a large amount of sense in a large bureaucratic entity, but sterilization of shit that might inadvertently teraform a neighbouring planet actually does make a great deal of sense and I cannot find any good angle to dispute this.
Of course it did raise one interesting theory in my mind: imagine many millenniums ago when the Mars habitat was rich and lush, and Earth was too hot, a martian probe was sent to explore the composition of our planet but they forgot to sterilize the machinery and a whole evolutionary chain was put into motion while they did the some stupid crap to their civilization causing global extinction. All life in that planet ceases to be and any traces of civilization wiped away by erosion while Earth was still in a state of protoplasmic goo.
I have had this thought before, in fact it was many, many years before we had landed anything on Mars. It's just funny to see how it might have happened, ACTUALLY happen. It almost makes it seem like less of a crack-pot theory when our best and brightest turn it into a possible reality by mistake.
Now that I have had my little daydream, I am pretty certain that this mistake is A BAD thing in terms of super-bug development. We may have sent H1N1 to a harsher environment than is available on our own planet, and if it adapts and thrives it's just a matter of time before a meteor strikes Mars and kicks up it's own debris which floats in our general direction... Then it's "Hello Martian flu season!".
Maybe that's always been in the grand designs of the universe, or maybe it's why all the alien conspiracies were planted in the 50's. I agree that it sounds too symmetrical to be some random accident, but the reverse timing of it is still hard to swallow. Not that I think I'll have to worry about this in my lifetime, but it's still pretty irresponsible nonetheless.
Just spit-balling ideas here, not suggesting that any of it is true, real, or even plausible... Except for that bit about NASA... I think they really were that stupid.