Specifically, the SSB would consider the following subjects and make recommendations, as appropriate, in a report to NASA:
• The possible factors that usefully could be included in a Coleman-Sagan formulation describing the probability that various types of missions might contaminate with Earth life any liquid water, either naturally occurring or induced by human activities, on or within specific target icy bodies or classes of objects;
• The range of values that can be estimated for the above factors based on current knowledge, as well as an assessment of conservative values for other specific factors that might be provided to missions targeting individual bodies or classes of objects; and
• Scientific investigations that could reduce the uncertainty in the above estimates and assessments, as well as technology developments that would facilitate implementation of planetary protection requirements and/or reduce the overall probability of contamination.
In order for NASA to present the results of this study activity to the COSPAR Panel on Planetary Protection at the 2012 Colloquium, and to include the recommendations during development of joint ESA-NASA Europa-Jupiter System Mission concepts, it would be highly desirable to receive a final report by January 2012.
I would like to request that the NRC submit a plan for execution of the study described herein. Once agreement on the scope, cost, and schedule for the proposed study has been achieved, the Contracting Officer will issue a task order for implementation. Dr. Catharine A. Conley, Planetary Protection Officer, will be the technical point of contact for this effort and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 358-3912.