Scientists have expressed concern that the red Tesla car currently floating in space could potentially pollute Mars, as the car may contain bacteria from Earth.

The Roadster was onboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launched last month and could land on Mars.

Purdue University Earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences professor Jay Melosh said: “If there is an indigenous Mars biota, it’s at risk of being contaminated by terrestrial life.

“Would Earth’s organisms be better adapted, take over Mars and contaminate it so we don’t know what indigenous Mars was like, or would they be not as well adapted as the Martian organisms? We don’t know.”

“If there is an indigenous Mars biota, it’s at risk of being contaminated by terrestrial life.”

Nasa’s Office of Planetary Protection is responsible for ensuring the germ-free condition of spacecraft planning to land on other planets, as organisms from Earth could flourish on another planet and exterminate native organisms.

The office, however, does not regulate spacecraft that plan to stay in orbit. Tesla was not cleaned before its launch, as it did not intend to land.

According to Melosh, Tesla could potentially land on Mars, but there is little chance of this as the car is in an orbit that crosses those of Earth and Mars.

The Roadstar may possibly end up striking Earth after millions of years.

Purdue University aeronautics and astronautics professor Alina Alexeenko said: “The load of bacteria on the Tesla could be considered a biothreat, or a backup copy of life on Earth.”

Alexeenko currently works in a lab that specialises in freeze-drying bacteria and biologics.

The freeze-drying technology is used for long-term preservation of live virus vaccines, bacteria and biopharmaceuticals, and is same as what live organisms experience in space.