NASA's exploration of planets and satellites during the past 50 years has led to the discovery of traces of water ice throughout the solar system and prospects for large liquid water reservoirs beneath the frozen ICE shells of multiple satellites of the giant planets of the outer solar system. During the coming decades, NASA and other space agencies will send flybys, orbiters, subsurface probes, and, possibly, landers to these distant worlds in order to explore their geologic and chemical context. Because of their potential to harbor alien life, NASA will select missions that target the most habitable outer solar system objects. This strategy poses formidable challenges for mission planners who must balance the opportunity for exploration with the risk of contamination by Earth's microbes, which could confuse the interpretation of data obtained from these objects.
The 2000 NRC report Preventing the Forward Contamination of Europa provided a criterion that was adopted with prior recommendations from the Committee on Space Research of the International Council for Science. This current NRC report revisits and extends the findings and recommendations of the 2000 Europa report in light of recent advances in planetary and life sciences and, among other tasks, assesses the risk of contamination of icy bodies in the solar system.
Table of Contents
|1 Current Status of Planetary Protection Policies for Icy Bodies||5-12|
|2 Binary Decision Trees||13-18|
|3 Hierarchical Decisions for Planetary Protection||19-22|
|4 A Geophysical Perspective and Inventory of Habitable Environments on Icy Bodies||23-40|
|5 Microbial Metabolism and Physiology||41-54|
|6 Necessary Research||55-58|
|Appendix A: Letter Requesting This Study||61-63|
|Appendix B: Current and Prospective Missions to Icy Bodies of Astrobiological Interest||64-69|
|Appendix C: Event Sequence Diagram for the Determination of Planetary Protection Measures for Missions to Icy Bodies||70-73|
|Appendix D: Committee and Staff Biographical Information||74-78|
|Appendix E: Glossary and Abbreviations||79-84|
The National Academies Press (NAP) has partnered with Copyright Clearance Center's Rightslink service to offer you a variety of options for reusing NAP content. Through Rightslink, you may request permission to reprint NAP content in another publication, course pack, secure website, or other media. Rightslink allows you to instantly obtain permission, pay related fees, and print a license directly from the NAP website. The complete terms and conditions of your reuse license can be found in the license agreement that will be made available to you during the online order process. To request permission through Rightslink you are required to create an account by filling out a simple online form. The following list describes license reuses offered by the National Academies Press (NAP) through Rightslink:
Click here to obtain permission for the above reuses. If you have questions or comments concerning the Rightslink service, please contact:
Rightslink Customer Care
Tel (toll free): 877/622-5543
To request permission to distribute a PDF, please contact our Customer Service Department at 800-624-6242 for pricing.
To request permission to translate a book published by the National Academies Press or its imprint, the Joseph Henry Press, please click here to view more information.