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BIOLOGICAL CONTAMINATION OF MARS ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS Task Group on Planetary Protection Space Studies Board Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council Washington DC, 1992
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for this project was provided by Contract NASW 4627 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Cover: This Viking Orbiter image, 200 kilometers across, shows water-worn, branching valley networks in the cratered uplands of Mars. These valleys are the main evidence for a warm wet climate on early Mars. (Photograph courtesy of NASA.) Copies of this report are available from Space Studies Board National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Printed in the United States of America ii
TASK GROUP ON PLANETARY PROTECTION KENNETH H. NEALSON, University of Wisconsin, Chairman JOHN BAROSS, University of Washington MICHAEL CARR, U.S. Geological Survey ROBERT PEPIN, University of Minnesota THOMAS SCHMIDT, Miami University JODI SHANN, University of Cincinnati J. ROBIE VESTAL, University of Cincinnati DAVID WHITE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory RICHARD YOUNG, Consultant, Kennedy Space Center Space Studies Board Liaison Members LOUIS J. LANZEROTTI, AT&T Bell Laboratories JAMES P. FERRIS, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration Liaison Members LARRY ESPOSITO, University of Colorado NORMAN PACE, Indiana University Space Studies Board Staff JOYCE M. PURCELL, Executive Secretary BOYCE N. AGNEW, Administrative Secretary CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Secretary MELANIE M. GREEN, Administrative Secretary iii
SPACE STUDIES BOARD LOUIS J. LANZEROTTI, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Chairman JOSEPH A. BURNS, Cornell University ANDREA K. DUPREE, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics JOHN A. DUTTON, Pennsylvania State University LARRY W. ESPOSITO, University of Colorado, Boulder JAMES P. FERRIS, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute HERBERT FRIEDMAN, Naval Research Laboratory RICHARD L. GARWIN, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center RICCARDO GIACCONI, Space Telescope Science Institute NOEL W. HINNERS, Martin Marietta Civil Space and Communications Company DAVID A. LANDGREBE, Purdue University ROBERT A. LAUDISE, AT&T Bell Laboratories RICHARD S. LINDZEN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN H. McELROY, University of Texas at Arlington WILLIAM J. MERRELL, JR., Texas A&M University RICHARD K. MOORE, University of Kansas ROBERT H. MOSER, University of New Mexico NORMAN F. NESS, University of Delaware MARCIA NEUGEBAUER, Jet Propulsion Laboratory MARK SETTLE, ARCO Oil Company WILLIAM A. SIRIGNANO, University of California at Irvine FRED TUREK, Northwestern University ARTHUR B.C. WALKER, Stanford University MARC S. ALLEN, Director iv
COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS NORMAN HACKERMAN, Robert A. Welch Foundation, Chairman PETER J. BICKEL, University of California at Berkeley GEORGE F. CARRIER, Harvard University GEORGE W. CLARK, Massachusetts Institute of Technology DEAN E. EASTMAN, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center MARYE ANNE FOX, University of Texas PHILLIP A. GRIFFITHS, Institute for Advanced Studies NEAL F. LANE, Rice University ROBERT W. LUCKY, AT&T Bell Laboratories CLAIRE E. MAX, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory CHRISTOPHER F. McKEE, University of California at Berkeley JAMES W. MITCHELL, AT&T Bell Laboratories RICHARD S. NICHOLSON, American Association for the Advancement of Science ALAN SCHRIESHEIM, Argonne National Laboratory KENNETH G. WILSON, Ohio State University NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director v
Contents SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS 1 1 INTRODUCTION 13 References, 17 2 SUMMARY OF PLANNED FUTURE MISSIONS 18 Approved Missions, 18 U.S. Mars Observer Mission, 18 Soviet Mars 94/96 Mission, 19 Contemplated Missions, 20 U.S. MESUR Mission, 20 ESA Marsnet Mission, 21 Sample Return and Rover Missions, 21 References, 22 3 SURFACE ENVIRONMENT OF MARS 23 Surface Chemistry, 23 Ultraviolet and Ionizing Radiation, 25 Temperature, 26 Water, 26 Volcanism, 27 Former Climatic Conditions on Mars, 28 References, 28 4 LIMITS OF LIFE ON EARTH: EXPANSION OF THE MICROBIAL 30 WORLD AND DETECTION OF LIFE Extreme Thermophiles and Volcanic Environments, 31 Life in Extreme Environments, 33 Dormant Forms of Life, 33 vi
Deep-Subsurface Microbes, 33 Radiation-Resistant Bacteria, 36 Life Detection for Planetary Protection (Including Bioburden Determination), 36 Viable But Nonculturable Organisms, 37 Epifluorescence Microscopy, 37 Lipids as Biomarkers, 38 Nucleic Acids as Biomarkers, 39 Detection of Spore-forming Bacteria, 39 Detection of Chirality as an Indicator of Bioprocesses, 40 References, 40 ASSESSMENT OF THE 1978 REPORT 43 Review, 43 Recommendations of the Task Group, 45 Forward Contamination, 45 Back Contamination, 49 Scientific IssuesâSummary Statement, 49 References, 50 ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS 51 Recommendations for Research, 51 Collection of Essential Data, 52 Assessment of Spacecraft Bioload, 54 Recommendations Concerning Other Issues, 54 Piloted Versus Unpiloted Missions, 54 Societal and Legal Issues, 55 References, 56 APPENDIXES A. Correspondence Documenting Start of Task 59 B. Biographical Sketches of Task Group Members 66 C. Space Studies Board Planetary Protection Workshop 70 D. Excerpts from the 1978 Report 82 E. Additional Related Information 103 vii