NASA maintains a planetary protection policy to avoid the forward biological contamination of other worlds by terrestrial organisms, and back biological contamination of Earth from the return of extraterrestrial materials by spaceflight missions. Forward-contamination issues related to Mars missions were addressed in a 2006 National Research Council (NRC) book, Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars. However, it has been more than 10 years since back-contamination issues were last examined.
Driven by a renewed interest in Mars sample return missions, this book reviews, updates, and replaces the planetary protection conclusions and recommendations contained in the NRC's 1997 report Mars Sample Return: Issues and Recommendations. The specific issues addressed in this book include the following:
Table of Contents
|2 The Potential for Past or Present Habitable Environments on Mars||22-31|
|3 Advances in Microbial Ecology||32-36|
|4 The Potential for Finding Biosignatures in Returned Martian Samples||37-44|
|5 The Potential for Large-Scale Effects||45-49|
|6 Sample Containment and Biohazard Evaluation||50-57|
|7 Sample-Receiving Facility and Program Oversight||58-72|
|Appendix A: Letter of Request from NASA||75-77|
|Appendix B: Committee and Staff Biographical Information||78-80|
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