Cleanliness as a separate goal

Related to the issue of contamination of a spacecraft is the question of cleanliness. If a spacecraft is carrying an instrument that is able to detect the presence of organic molecules, then steps must be taken to ensure that those instruments do not have their data degraded unacceptably by the spacecraft's chemical inventory. Generally this goal is achieved by careful cleaning of sampling inlets and handling tools, ensuring that the path taken by a planetary sample is appropriately clean at all stages. This is a burgeoning field of study, made more challenging by the complex nature of current spacecraft sampling tools and the potential for migration of material on landers arriving at an atmosphere-bearing world. Protocols for non-biological organic contamination are being developed, similar to those of the COSPAR bioload regulations. Where these fields overlap is in those cases that might permit an otherwise permissible bioburden to be revived and to grow, and in doing so generate an intolerable level of organic matter through their metabolism and subsequent death.

11 The event of October 1989 as monitored by GOES-7 in geostationary orbit.

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