Contamination Issues in Exploring Mars

Increasing interest in Mars exploration has also prompted a new look at the planetary protection requirements for forward contamination. In 1992, for example, the Space Studies Board of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences recommended changes in the requirements for Mars landers that significantly alleviated some of the expense and operational burden of planetary protection for these missions. The board's recommendations were published in the document "Biological Contamination of Mars: Issues and Recommendations" and were presented at the 29th COSPAR Assembly that was held in 1992 in Washington, D.C. In 1994, a resolution addressing these recommendations was adopted by COSPAR at the 30th assembly and subsequently has been incorporated into NASA's planetary protection policy. Of course, as scientists learn more about Mars, planetary protection requirements will be adjusted to reflect current scientific knowledge and to achieve the overall objective of

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