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Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for MARS: Sample Return Missions
WILLIAM V. BOYNTON is a professor at the Department of Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona. Dr. Boynton’s research interests include mineralogic and trace element studies of meteorites and impact events, internal stratigraphy and provenance of Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sediments, remote-sensing via gamma-ray spectrometry, instrumentation for chemical analysis of planetary surfaces, and Mars surface chemistry. He has been extensively involved in Mars missions since 1984. His gamma ray spectrometer first flew on the ill-fated Mars Observer spacecraft in the early 1990s before being successfully deployed by Mars Odyssey in 2002. He is the principal investigator of the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analysis instrument, which studied the chemical properties of martian surface materials on the Mars Phoenix spacecraft. Dr. Boynton served on the NRC Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration and the Committee on the Assessment of Solar System Exploration.
SHERRY L. CADY is an associate professor at the Center for Life in Extreme Environments in the Department of Geology at Portland State University. She studies microbial behavior and biosignature preservation in extreme ecosystems to better detect life in the geological record. Specifically, she uses a variety of imaging, structural, and chemical analytical methods and focuses on the biochemical interactions between microorganisms and their environment. Her efforts to improve the ability to detect evidence of life in the geological record apply directly to paleobiological studies of life on Earth and astrobiological studies on other planets. Dr. Cady is the editor of the journal Astrobiology. She served as an NRC research associate at NASA Ames Research Center (1994-1996), and as principal investigator and research scientist at the SETI Institute (1996-1998). Dr. Cady served on the NRC Committee to Review of the Next Decadal Mars Architecture.
F. GRANT FERRIS is a professor in the Department of Geology at the University of Toronto and the founding director of the university’s Microbial Geochemistry Laboratory. Dr. Ferris’ research focuses on field studies of mineral precipitation by bacteria in terrestrial hot springs and deep-sea hydrothermal vents and experimental laboratory work on the surface chemistry of bacterial cells. He serves as the chair of the executive board of the International Symposia on Environmental Biogeochemistry and is a founding member of the Canadian Space Agency Astrobiology Working Group and a member of the InterRidge Biogeochemistry Working Group. He has served as an associate editor for the Geomicrobiology Journal, Applied Geochemistry, and Geobiology.
DUNCAN MacPHERSON, a Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) fellow, serves in a variety of roles, including chief engineer for spacecraft projects—most recently, the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (2003-2005). Prior to coming to JPL in 2000, Mr. MacPherson worked as an independent contractor providing senior-level consulting services addressing technical problems relating to systems engineering or multiple engineering disciplines. In this capacity Mr. MacPherson served on project-level review boards for numerous spacecraft, including Galileo and Cassini. From 1965 to 1989, Mr. MacPherson held a variety of senior technical positions at Hughes Aircraft Company, including chief engineer for the Galileo Probe Project and the Japanese Geostationary Meteorological Satellite. He was also responsible for systems engineering and mission analyses for classified and unclassified programs and proposals.
MARGARET S. RACE is a scientist with the SETI Institute. Her research focuses on planetary protection and ethical considerations of probes seeking to detect life as well as the implications of the possible discovery of life beyond Earth. She works closely with NASA in studying scientific, policy, and public issues associated with solar system exploration. She has served on three major national studies involving planetary protection and recently completed work on several NASA projects related to Mars exploration—one that developed scientific protocols for handling, quarantining, and testing martian samples, and one that analyzed the technical and scientific issues associated with human missions to Mars. She served as an organizer and editor of a series of international workshops on containment and testing protocols for Mars sample return missions and participated in several recent studies of planetary protection for human missions to Mars. Dr. Race has served on several NRC committees, including the Committee on Principles of Environmental and Scientific Stewardship for the Exploration Study of Subglacial Lake Environments, the Committee on Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars, and the Task Group on Issues in Sample Return.