Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Planetary protection

So we think there is/can be liquid water on Mars.  
What next?  Drill! Drill! Drill!

And what should we be looking for?
Possible life forms?
Quantity, for use by future humans on Mars?

How sure would we be that what we might find is Martian and not from Earth?
And IF, IF there is life, do we invade and posses or leave alone forever?

Many questions to answer and often impatience. 

You can bake a spacecraft and feel that you have made it germ free.
Try that with a flaky, germ ridden human and we might send a mummy. :-)

Not easy questions to answer.

Will be interesting to see if planting a flag wins over concern about what we take to Mars.
Even if the microbe story about the camera that Apollo 12 brought back can be dismissed, it still makes for sound bytes.

Mars has an atmosphere that is more dense than the tenuous exosphere of the Moon and humans are dirty, dirty, dirty.
We best know what we are doing when we send the first astronauts to Mars.
Then again, we killed a lot of buffalo just because they held up the trains as the West was opened.

Food for thought.
- LRK -

PS: My mom wouldn't put in new wall to wall carpeting until we could eat a meal without dropping food on the floor.
She waited until my brother, sister, and myself grew up and left home. :-)
(then she put plastic runners everywhere)

Planetary protection

The potential problem of lunar and planetary contamination was first raised at the International Astronautical Federation VIIth Congress in Rome in 1956.[4]
In 1958[5] the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) passed a resolution stating, “The National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America urges that scientists plan lunar and planetary studies with great care and deep concern so that initial operations do not compromise and make impossible forever after critical scientific experiments.” This led to creation of the ad hoc Committee on Contamination by Extraterrestrial Exploration (CETEX), which met for a year and recommended that interplanetary spacecraft be sterilized, and stated, “The need for sterilization is only temporary. Mars and possibly Venus need to remain uncontaminated only until study by manned ships becomes possible”[6]
In 1959 planetary protection was transferred to the newly formed Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). COSPAR in 1964 issued Resolution 26
affirms that the search for extraterrestrial life is an important objective of space research, that the planet of Mars may offer the only feasible opportunity to conduct this search during the foreseeable future, that contamination of this planet would make such a search far more difficult and possibly even prevent for all time an unequivocal result, that all practical steps should be taken to ensure that Mars be not biologically contaminated until such time as this search can have been satisfactorily carried out, and that cooperation in proper scheduling of experiments and use of adequate spacecraft sterilization techniques is required on the part of all deep space probe launching authorities to avoid such contamination.[7]

Next Mars Rover's High-Tech Landing May Raise Contamination Risks
Jeremy Hsu, Astrobiology Magazine Contributor   |   September 05, 2011 08:00am ET

Earth microbes trying to make it to the planet Mars must survive sterilization in NASA's clean rooms, harsh cosmic rays during months of space travel and the Red Planet's unforgiving surface environment.
But any bacteria that successfully hitchhike aboard the wheels of NASA'sMars rover Curiosity in 2012 might manage to scratch out a brief existence on the Martian surface.
That finding comes from a study that examined how the new high-tech landing technique of Curiosity, the centerpiece of NASA's $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, may affect the risk of contaminating Mars.

NASA's Mars Rover Curiosity Had Planetary Protection Slip-Up
by Leonard David,'s Space Insider Columnist   |   November 30, 2011 05:26pm ET

All NASA spacecraft sent to other planets must undergo meticulous procedures to make sure they don't carry biological contamination from Earth to their destinations.
However, a step in these planetary protection measures wasn't adhered to for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity, now en route to the Red Planet, has learned.
The incident has become a lessons-learned example of miscommunication in assuring that planetary protection procedures are strictly adhered to.

Outer Space Treaty

The Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is atreaty that forms the basis of international space law. The treaty was opened for signature in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on 27 January 1967, and entered into force on 10 October 1967. As of May 2013, 103 countries are parties to the treaty, while another 26 have signed the treaty but have not completed ratification.[1] In addition, the Republic of China (Taiwan), which is currently only recognized by 21 UN member states, ratified the treaty prior to the United Nations General Assembly's vote to transfer China's seat to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1971.[2]

Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -
Potential effects of recent findings on spacecraft sterilization requirements
S. Schalkowsky , L. B. Hall , R. C. Kline

Space life sciences
March 1969, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 520-530


An important task related to the formulation of planetary quarantine standards is the achievement of an acceptable compromise between (1) the prevention of planetary contamination and (2) the impact of quarantine requirements on the conduct of planetary missions. Such a task is a continuing effort, which must take all pertinent new information into account as it becomes available. This paper provides an analytical framework for the assessment of data which have become available during the past year or which are currently being evolved. In particular an evaluation is made of the probability of release of viable organisms from the spacecraft as a function of: (1) impact velocity magnitudes and the probability of their occurrence; (2) the degree of equipment fracturing at impact velocities; and (3) the number of viable organisms in spacecraft materials. Work being done to quantify each of three types of contamination, i.e. that on open surfaces, mated surfaces and buried contamination, is described in the context of seeking an approach to spacecraft sterilization that would be most compatible with the implementation of planetary missions. It is concluded that the results of work now in progress on spacecraft-material fracturing, on the estimation of buried contamination loads, and on microbial resistance on mated surfaces, may lead to less severe dry-heat sterilization of planetary spacecraft than had been considered necessary in the past.

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