Planetary Protection and Mars Special Regions — A Suggestion for Updating the Definition

Rettberg, Petra, Alexandre, Anesio, Baker, Victor, Cady, Sherry, Detsis, Emmanouil, Foreman, Christine, Hauber, Ernst, Ori, Gian, Pearce, David, Renno, Nilton, Ruvkun, Gary, Sattler, Birgit, Saunders, Mark, Smith, David H., Wagner, Dirk and Westall, Frances (2016) Planetary Protection and Mars Special Regions — A Suggestion for Updating the Definition. Astrobiology, 16 (2). pp. 119-125. ISSN 1531-1074

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ast.2016.1472

Abstract

We highlight the role of COSPAR and the scientific community in defining and updating the framework of planetary protection. Specifically, we focus on Mars “Special Regions,” areas where strict planetary protection measures have to be applied before a spacecraft can explore them, given the existence of environmental conditions that may be conducive to terrestrial microbial growth. We outline the history of the concept of Special Regions and inform on recent developments regarding the COSPAR policy, namely, the MEPAG SR-SAG2 review and the Academies and ESF joint committee report on Mars Special Regions. We present some new issues that necessitate the update of the current policy and provide suggestions for new definitions of Special Regions. We conclude with the current major scientific questions that remain unanswered regarding Mars Special Regions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Planetary protection, Mars Special Regions, COSPAR policy
Subjects: C900 Others in Biological Sciences
F500 Astronomy
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography
Depositing User: Ay Okpokam
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2016 16:16
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2016 10:03
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/25820

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