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Anticipated Impacts of Planetary Protection Requirements on Mars Sample Return Missions

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1 Author(s)
Margaret. S. Race ; SETI Institute, 515 No. Whisman Rd, Mountain View, CA 94043. (925) 947-1272,

International planetary protection polices will apply to upcoming Mars sample return missions, translating into unavoidable challenges and requirements. It will be important that engineers, designers, and planners acknowledge the importance of these policies, understand how they will impact different mission phases, and be aware of findings and recommendations from previous workshops and research that address many of the issues ahead. This paper provides an overview of planetary protection policies for a Mars sample return mission and discusses the implications for both robotic and human missions and associated hardware and operations. It also provides detailed information about requirements related to sample collection, handling, containment, and testing both on Mars as well as on Earth. This information is also relevant for the eventual development of a sample receiving facility (SRF) where returned samples will be handled during preliminary science screening and biohazard analyses upon return to Earth.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2008 IEEE

Date of Conference:

1-8 March 2008