Results tagged “Planetary Protection”

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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