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Beyond ballistic.

While the report of ballistic testing of bacteria is a fascinating study of bacterial survival ("Bulletproof bacteria" SN: 6/7/03, p. 366), I'd be more concerned about the effects of severe extremes of heat, cold, and vacuum on the survival of bacterial spores. As the study stands, we're still left wondering about these other important factors.

JON ONG, WOODLAND HILLS, CALIF.

A couple of things seemed somewhat incongruous. The article indicates that it would take an acceleration of 3.4 million meters per second per second to escape Mars' gravitational pull but equates this to about 35,000 times Earth's gravity. Also, does the 3.4 million m/s/s mean an instantaneous acceleration, as in an explosion or volcanic expulsion?

JAMES ZUKOWSKI, YELM, WASH.

Bacteria can indeed survive such extremes. Also, the article should have said that material escaping Mars' gravity would have to accelerate about 350,000 times the force of Earth's gravity. And yes, the acceleration would be nearly instantaneous.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Aug 9, 2003
Words:164
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