Planetary Protection


NASA's New Planetary Protection Board

NASA's New Planetary Protection Board

Following National Academy of Sciences recommendations, advice from the NASA Advisory Council, and subsequent unanimous agreement from NASA's science leadership, the agency has established an independent Planetary Protection Review Board to review established guidelines for planetary protection and recommend any updates that are required.


Report: Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis

Report: Strategic Investments in Instrumentation and Facilities for Extraterrestrial Sample Curation and Analysis

The United States possesses a treasure-trove of extraterrestrial samples that were returned to Earth via space missions over the past four decades. Analyses of these previously returned samples have led to major breakthroughs in the understanding of the age, composition, and origin of the solar system.


A New Level 3 Biosafety and Astrobiology Laboratory in Pieve a Nievole (PT)

A New Level 3 Biosafety and Astrobiology Laboratory in Pieve a Nievole (PT)

We report our proposal for the establishment of a biocontainment and astrobiology laboratory in a strategic area of Pieve a Nievole (PT) at 28 mt above sea level - to face the lack of biological and astrobiological research centers and all the social, economic and cultural consequences that this project implicate.


Planetary Protection Classification of Sample-Return Missions from the Martian Moons

Planetary Protection Classification of Sample-Return Missions from the Martian Moons

This report reviews recent theoretical, experimental, and modeling research on the environments and physical conditions encountered by Mars ejecta during certain processes. It recommends whether missions returning samples from Phobos and/or Deimos should be classified as "restricted" or "unrestricted" Earth return in the framework of the planetary protection policy maintained by COSPAR. This report also considers the specific ways the classification of sample return from Deimos is a different case than sample return from Phobos.


Space Station Microbes Should Be Monitored To Avoid Threat To Astronaut Health

Space Station Microbes Should Be Monitored To Avoid Threat To Astronaut Health

Strains of the bacterium Enterobacter, similar to newly found opportunistic infectious organisms seen in a few hospital settings, have been identified on the International Space Station (ISS).


Report: Review and Assessment of Planetary Protection Policy Development Processes

Report: Review and Assessment of Planetary Protection Policy Development Processes

Protecting Earth's environment and other solar system bodies from harmful contamination has been an important principle throughout the history of space exploration. For decades, the scientific, political, and economic conditions of space exploration converged in ways that contributed to effective development and implementation of planetary protection policies at national and international levels.


Report: Review and Assessment of Planetary Protection Policy Development Processes

Report: Review and Assessment of Planetary Protection Policy Development Processes

The current process for planetary protection policy development is inadequate to respond to increasingly complex solar system exploration missions, says a new report.


Hardy Organisms Threaten Interplanetary Contamination

Hardy Organisms Threaten Interplanetary Contamination

In professor George Fox's lab at the University of Houston, scientists are studying Earth germs that could be contaminating other planets.


Cleaning ExoMars 2020 Rover For Mars

Cleaning ExoMars 2020 Rover For Mars

A ground penetrating radar antenna for ESA's ExoMars 2020 rover being pre-cleaned in an ultra-cleanroom environment in preparation for its sterilisation process, in an effort to prevent terrestrial microbes coming along for the ride to the red planet.


The Goals, Rationales, and Definition of Planetary Protection: Interim Report (2017)

The Goals, Rationales, and Definition of Planetary Protection: Interim Report (2017)

Description: Solar system exploration is in an extraordinary state of expansion. Scientific capabilities to search for evidence of extant or relic life outside Earth--among the principal goals of solar system exploration--are advancing rapidly.


The Goals, Rationales, and Definition of Planetary Protection: Interim Report

The Goals, Rationales, and Definition of Planetary Protection: Interim Report

In this time of rapid transition in exploring solar system bodies, the importance of reexamining planetary protection policies, including the need for clarity in how NASA establishes such policies, has become more urgent.


Planetary Protection For Human Missions to Mars

Planetary Protection For Human Missions to Mars

Since the dawn of space travel, nations from around the world have shown a commitment to protecting objects in the Solar System from contamination carried from the Earth and into space by spacecraft.


Planetary Protection and ExoMars Payload Integration

Planetary Protection and ExoMars Payload Integration

Like surgeons in an operating room, the technicians work gowned and masked in ESA's ultraclean microbiology laboratory, ensuring a high-tech sensor will not contaminate the Red Planet with terrestrial microbes.


NASA HQ Vacancy: Planetary Protection Officer

NASA HQ Vacancy: Planetary Protection Officer

NASA has posted a position in the Science Mission Directorate for the Planetary Protection Officer. It has a very short response time, with applications due by June 25, 2014.


Could Life Hitch a Ride to Saturn and Jupiter?

Could Life Hitch a Ride to Saturn and Jupiter?

A new study supported by the NASA Astrobiology Institute suggests that the possibility of life being transferred from the inner solar system to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, although very rare, cannot be ruled out.


Planetary Protection: Preventing Microbial Hitchhiking

Planetary Protection: Preventing Microbial Hitchhiking

While astronauts might dream of discovering unknown life one day in their future career, ESA's Planetary Protection Officer oversees activities that achieve it on a regular basis.


Rare New Microbe Found in Two Distant Clean Rooms

Rare New Microbe Found in Two Distant Clean Rooms

A rare, recently discovered microbe that survives on very little to eat has been found in two places on Earth: spacecraft clean rooms in Florida and South America.


Could Life Have Survived a Fall to Earth?

Could Life Have Survived a Fall to Earth?

It sounds like science fiction, but the theory of panspermia, in which life can naturally transfer between planets, is considered a serious hypothesis by planetary scientists. The suggestion that life did not originate on Earth but came from elsewhere in the universe (for instance, Mars), is one possible variant of panspermia. a.


Sterilized Mars Spacecraft Largely a Waste of Money

Sterilized Mars Spacecraft Largely a Waste of Money

Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, astrobiologists Alberto Fairen of Cornell University and Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University say the NASA Office of Planetary Protection's "detailed and expensive" efforts to keep Earth microorganisms off Mars are making missions to search for life on the red planet "unviable."


Planetary Protection: A Work in Progress

Planetary Protection: A Work in Progress

For the past few years, a research team in Antarctica has been drilling through several miles of ice in an effort to reach Lake Vostok. Lake Vostok is the largest of a number of bodies of fresh water trapped deep in the ice and isolated from the rest of Earth's biosphere for millions of years. What forms of life may exist in Lake Vostok are of interest not only to terrestrial ecologists but also astrobiologists given that moons such as Europa, Ganymede, and Enceladus may have water oceans underneath their outer icy surfaces.



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