Planetary Protection Update

Microbial Diversity and Its Relationship to Planetary Protection, Applied and Environmental Microbiology

"As summarized by Rummel (56) and Rummel and Meyer (57), while exploring our solar system and the universe at large, spacefaring nations must be committed to avoiding biological contamination of other planetary systems while also protecting the Earth from potential harm caused by materials returned from space. Most scientists accept this, and there are international treaties and regulations addressing these issues (6, 62). Thus, planetary protection is now a part of planning for all extraterrestrial missions (64), and the rules regarding these activities are prepared by an international group known as the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) (Paris, France). Spacefaring nations generally adhere to the scientific and technical standards developed by COSPAR."

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