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I studied hard, I trained for years. Yay, now I'm an astronaut in space. Argggh, leukemia!

james 68

The problem with that is: would an earthly virus or bacterium even be able to infect an alien lifeform? Given the relatively low cross infection rates in different terrestrial species it's very unlikely that they could colonise something which would be so biologically different. Death due to a native Martian infection compounded by reduced immunity caused by prolonged space travel is much more likely. Though given that the book is based in early 1900's science they could conceivably mistake the deaths as being caused by terrestrial means.

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