Biological Contamination Prevention for Outer Solar System Moons of Astrobiological Interest: What Do We Need to Know?

Petra Rettberg, André Antunes, John Brucato, Patricia Cabezas, Geoffrey Collins, Alissa Haddaji, Gerhard Kminek, Stefan Leuko, Susan McKenna-Lawlor, Christine Moissl-Eichinger, Jean-Louis Fellous, Karen Olsson-Francis, David Pearce, Elke Rabbow, Samuel Royle, Mark Saunders, Mark Sephton, Andy Spry, Nicolas Walter, Robert Wimmer SchweingruberJean-Charles Treuet

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Abstract

To ensure that scientific investments in space exploration are not compromised by terrestrial contamination of celestial bodies, special care needs to be taken to preserve planetary conditions for future astrobiological exploration. Significant effort has been made and is being taken to address planetary protection in the context of inner Solar System exploration. In particular for missions to Mars, detailed internationally accepted guidelines have been established. For missions to the icy moons in the outer Solar System, Europa and Enceladus, the planetary protection requirements are so far based on a probabilistic approach and a conservative estimate of poorly known parameters. One objective of the European Commission-funded project, Planetary Protection of Outer Solar System, was to assess the existing planetary protection approach, to identify inherent knowledge gaps, and to recommend scientific investigations necessary to update the requirements for missions to the icy moons.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrobiology
Early online date14 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • Icy moons—Europa—Enceladus—Planetary protection—Requirements—Spacecraft.

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