Towards the Development of a National Planetary Protection Policy

August, 2019
IDA document: D-10786
FFRDC: Science and Technology Policy Institute
Type: Documents , Space
Jericho W. Locke, Cara P. Cavanaugh, Bhavya Lal, Katherine M. Kowal, Jeffrey Trauberman, Sara A. Carioscia See more authors
New mission designs, advances in science and technology, and the entrance of new actors has raised concerns with the applicability of planetary protection to modern space activities. Planetary protection is a term that generally refers to the practice of avoiding contamination of other celestial bodies by terrestrial lifeforms or organic compounds (so-called “forward contamination”) and avoiding contamination of the Earth by extra-terrestrial biological organisms (“backward contamination”). In this document, we review current planetary protection policies and approaches; summarize current U.S. and international law, regulation, standards, policies and practices governing planetary protection; assess relevant authorities, challenges, and opportunities for change; and provide policy options for reviewing and updating, as necessary, national planetary protection policies.