The company name originates from the misheard "lovely planet" in a song written by Matthew Moore. Lonely Planet's first book, Across Asia on the Cheap, had 94 pages; it was written by the couple in their home. The original 1973 print run consisted of stapled booklets with pale blue cardboard covers.
Lonely Planet's digital presence included 140 apps and 8.5 million unique users for lonelyplanet.com, which hosted the Thorn Tree travel forum. BBC Worldwide acquired the remaining 25% of the company for £42.1 million (A$67.2 million) from the Wheelers.
Forward contamination is a different story. Once humankind entered into space exploration the specter for extraterrestrial seeding of Earth based life became a real possibility. We have and do expect to send manned and unmanned spacecraft both to the moon and Mars. There are five active probes on or in orbit around Mars including three orbiters and two rovers. Of the two, Mars is considered to be a more likely candidate either for past life or possible seeding of life. Scientists have argued for the likelihood that Titan and Europa might host life as well but we confine ourselves to Mars in our discussion as it is within the foreseeable future for concentrated exploration, especially regarding manned missions. The question has become, how likely is our potential for seeding another planet and what are the chances it will survive and colonize?10,11
Life then has been resident on most of our planet for most of its 3.5 billion years, at least from the microbial standpoint. And while man might not be able to inhabit every nook and cranny of our planet without some sort of protective intervention, microbial life can. Indeed, it appears that we humans were but unexplored, opportunist, ecologically rich targets for colonization once our ancestors arrived on the biological landscape. The latest results on investigations into the human microbiome (the total resident microbial population in a particular environment) reveal that microbes inhabit every nook and cranny of our human self to our benefit, if not our survival, certainly to our health26 and vigor. We are repositories for a dynamic, commensal, co-evolving microbiome.
Horizontal gene transfer explained the rapid adaptive response to changing ecologies. The key was an expansive genetic resource. Microbial communities are diverse in constituency and thrive in huge numbers. Researchers have estimated the number of prokaryotes and viruses found in various environments, e.g oceans and lakes,42-44 dirt,45 and the human gut.46-49 For reference, the most current estimates for the ocean floor is 2.9 × 1029 cells or ten million trillion microbes for every person on the planet.44 This provides a perspective on the desperate need to understand microbiology in terms of populations50 if we were to get a handle on how obligatory horizontal gene transfer might be to the adaptive process.51 In a further complication, prokaryotes and their parasitic viruses have the potential for travel abroad52-55 making the genetic resource global. In a Gaian Earth like ours, as long as the possibility to eke out a living in any little crevice or water spot exists, the potential for finding the adaptive genetic resource is possible, if not guaranteed. 2b1af7f3a8