In 1974, on this day NASA came to the conclusion that the crash of Pioneer 10 on the limb of Jupiter December 4th, 1973 likely planted Earth bacteria in the upper atmosphere.
NASA admitted Pioneer 10 contaminated Jupiter! The fateful probe suffered a computer glitch when passing through the intense Van Allen type radiation belts that concentrate in the Jovian magnetosphere that fired the thrusters dry and altered course just enough to graze the atmosphere and crash on Jupiter. The impact occurred on the edge of the planet at a low angle, similar to the way the Apollo missions returned to Earth from exploring the moon. While the event was too small to show on Earth based telescopes Pioneer 10 continued sending pictures back to NASA until minutes before impact and the impact latitude is known.
Now a month later Earth based telescopes have detected a color change in the atmospheric belt where the collision took place. Spectrographic study of the discolored band have detected complex organic molecules identical to those built by simple single cell life forms on Earth. A new story by Allen W. McDonnellScientists have concluded that Earthly bacteria, hibernating on the Pioneer spacecraft, were released when it fell into Jupiter and have survived by consuming the organic clouds of Methane and Ammonia in the Jovian atmosphere. The Miller/Urey experiment in a lab in 1953 demonstrated that lightning passing through clouds like those on Jupiter can create amino acids in very small quantities and pieces of organic material even smaller called tholins in large quantities. Without life these chemicals simply exist for a few months before they are swept too low and the heat from inside Jupiter causes them to break back down into the simpler molecules they began as, Ammonia, Methane and Water.
Life, in the form of some exotic bacteria hitchhiking on Pioneer 10, has now found a way to access these tholins and reproduce. Jupiter will never be the same as once a planet is contaminated with Bacteria there is no practical way imaginable to bring it back to a pristine state of existence.