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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
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Report Series - Committee on Planetary Protection

Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles

Committee on Planetary Protection
Space Studies Board
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Board on Life Sciences
Division on Earth and Life Studies

A Consensus Study Report of

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

This study is based on work supported by Contract NNH17CB02B with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any agency or organization that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-16191-6
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-16191-6
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26029.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
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The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
×

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Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.

Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
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COMMITTEE ON PLANETARY PROTECTION

JOSEPH K. ALEXANDER, Alexander Space Policy Consultants, Chair

ANGEL ABBUD-MADRID, Colorado School of Mines

ANTHONY COLAPRETE, NASA Ames Research Center

MICHAEL J. DALY, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

DAVID P. FIDLER, Council on Foreign Relations

SARAH A. GAVIT, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

AMANDA R. HENDRIX, Planetary Science Institute

ANDREW D. HORCHLER, Astrobotic Technology, Inc.

DAVID M. KARL, NAS1, University of Hawaii at Manoa

EUGENE H. LEVY, Rice University

ROBERT E. LINDBERG, JR., Independent Consultant

MARGARITA M. MARINOVA, Independent Consultant

A. DEANNE ROGERS, Stony Brook University, The State University of New York

GERHARD H. SCHWEHM, European Space Agency (retired)

TRISTA J. VICK MAJORS, Michigan Technological University

Staff

DANIEL NAGASAWA, Program Officer, Space Studies Board, Study Director

KATHERINE BOWMAN, Senior Program Officer, Board on Life Sciences

MIA BROWN, Research Associate, Space Studies Board

MEGAN CHAMBERLAIN, Senior Program Assistant, Space Studies Board

COLLEEN HARTMAN, Director, Space Studies Board and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
×

SPACE STUDIES BOARD

MARGARET G. KIVELSON, NAS,1 University of California, Los Angeles, Chair

JAMES H. CROCKER, NAE,2 Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (Retired), Vice Chair

GREGORY P. ASNER, NAS, Carnegie Institution for Science

JEFF M. BINGHAM, U.S. Senate (Retired)

ADAM BURROWS, NAS, Princeton University

MARY LYNNE DITTMAR, Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

JEFF DOZIER, University of California, Santa Barbara

VICTORIA HAMILTON, Southwest Research Institute

CHRYSSA KOUVELIOTOU, NAS, George Washington University

DENNIS P. LETTENMAIER, NAE, University of California, Los Angeles

ROSALY M. LOPES, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

STEPHEN J. MACKWELL, American Institute of Physics

DAVID J. MCCOMAS, Princeton University

LARRY J. PAXTON, Johns Hopkins University

ELIOT QUATAERT, University of California, Berkeley

MARK SAUNDERS, Independent Consultant

BARBARA SHERWOOD LOLLAR, University of Toronto

HOWARD SINGER, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

HARLAN E. SPENCE, University of New Hampshire

MARK H. THIEMENS, NAS, University of California, San Diego

ERIKA B WAGNER, Blue Origin, LLC

PAUL D. WOOSTER, Space Exploration Technologies

EDWARD L. WRIGHT, NAS, University of California, Los Angeles

Staff

COLLEEN HARTMAN, Director, Space Studies Board

TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations

CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate

MARGARET A. KNEMEYER, Financial Officer

RADAKA LIGHTFOOT, Financial Associate

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

2 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
×

BOARD ON LIFE SCIENCES

BARBARA A. SCHAAL, NAS,1 Washington University in St. Louis, Chair

A. ALONSO AGUIRRE, George Mason University

VALERIE H. BONHAM, Ropes & Gray LLP

DOMINIQUE BROSSARD, University of Wisconsin–Madison

NANCY D. CONNELL, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

SEAN M. DECATUR, Kenyon College

SCOTT V. EDWARDS, NAS,3 Harvard University

GERALD L. EPSTEIN, National Defense University

ROBERT J. FULL, University of California, Berkeley

ROBERT NEWMAN, The Aspen Institute

STEPHEN J. O’BRIEN, NAS,3 Nova Southeastern University

LUCILA OHNO-MACHADO, NAM,2 University of California, San Diego

CLAIRE POMEROY, NAM,4 Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation

SUSAN RUNDELL SINGER, Rollins College

DAVID R. WALT, NAE, NAM, 3 Harvard Medical School

PHYLLIS M. WISE, NAM,4 University of Colorado

Staff

KAVITA BERGER, Director

FRAN SHARPLES, Advisor

JO HUSBANDS, Scholar and Senior Project Director

KATHERINE BOWMAN, Senior Program Officer

ANDREA HODGSON, Senior Program Officer

KEEGAN SAWYER, Senior Program Officer

STEVEN MOSS, Program Officer

AUDREY THÉVENON, Program Officer

MATTHEW ANDERSON, Financial Business Partner

JESSICA DE MOUY, Senior Program Assistant

KOSSANA YOUNG, Senior Program Assistant

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

2 Member, National Academy of Medicine.

3 Member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
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Preface

The Space Studies Board (SSB; and its predecessor, the Space Science Board) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has been involved in shaping the United States’ planetary protection policy for 60 years. Through those years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has sponsored studies through the SSB, seeking independent, scientific advice on how to craft its planetary protection policies. NASA’s policies, in turn, have formed a basis upon which the global space science community has developed consensus international planetary protection policies through the International Council of Science’s (ICSU’s) Committee on Space Research (COSPAR).

In 2016, NASA asked the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science under the SSB to perform a study on the development of planetary protection policies. The resultant report, Review and Assessment of Planetary Protection Policy Development Processes, released in 2018, and a separate 2019 report of NASA’s Planetary Protection Independent Review Board.1 Both studies concluded that there was a need for NASA to “reestablish an independent and appropriate advisory body and process to help guide formulation and implementation of planetary protection adequate to serve the best interests of the public, the NASA program, and the variety of new entrants that may become active in deep space operations in the years ahead.”2 At NASA’s request, the newest discipline committee of the SSB was formed in July 2020, the Committee on Planetary Protection (CoPP), to serve as the standing forum for the discussion of planetary protection issues critical to NASA.

For the Committee’s first report, Science Mission Directorate and Office of Safety and Mission Assurance leadership requested that the CoPP draft a short report on the impact of human activities, both crewed and robotic, on the polar volatiles and the scientific value of protecting the surface and subsurface regions of Earth’s Moon from organic and biological contamination. Lunar exploration is a dynamic and timely subject, with activities such as the new Commercial Lunar Payload Services program and the preparations for the return of humans to the lunar surface in the Artemis program, and this was reflected in the discussions within the CoPP and from external presenters at its meetings.

To gather information and discuss the issues, the CoPP met five times in 2020, virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, on the following dates: September 4, September 18, September 23, September 29, and October 2. A completed draft of this report was assembled on October 14, 2020.

The committee would like to thank Penelope Boston (NASA), Athena Coustenis (Paris Observatory), Dana Hurley (Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory), Niklas Hedman (United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs), Gerhard Kminek (European Space Agency), Clive Neal (University of Notre Dame), David Paige (University of California, Los Angeles), Noah Petro (NASA), Carle Pieters (Brown University), Lisa Pratt (NASA), and Parvathy Prem (Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory) for their presentations to the CoPP. We also thank Jason Dworkin (NASA) for splinter conversations and Scott Hubbard (Stanford University) and John Rummel (SETI) for informative email correspondences.

___________________

1 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2020, Assessment of the Report of NASA’s Planetary Protection Independent Review Board, The National Academies Press, Washington, DC, https://doi.org/10.17226/25773.

2 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2018, Review and Assessment of Planetary Protection Policy Development Processes, The National Academies Press, Washington, DC, https://doi.org/10.17226/25172, Recommendation 3.6.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
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Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Jeremy W. Boyce, NASA Johnson Space Center,
Terry A. Hurford, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,
Paul G. Falkowski, NAS,1 Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey,
Paul G. Lucey, University of Hawaii,
Parvathy Prem, Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory, and
Erika B. Wagner, Blue Origin, LLC.

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Louis J. Lanzerotti, NAS,1 New Jersey Institute of Technology. He was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
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Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
×
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Planetary Protection for the Study of Lunar Volatiles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26029.
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Under U.S. policy and international treaty, the goals of planetary protection are to avoid both adverse changes in Earth’s environment caused by introducing extraterrestrial matter and harmful contamination of solar system bodies in order to protect their biological integrity for scientific study. The United States has long cooperated with other countries and relevant scientific communities through the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) of the International Council for Science in developing planetary protection guidance for different categories of space missions. In the past, achieving planetary protection objectives through science-based, international-consensus guidelines proved relatively straightforward because a small number of spacefaring nations explored the solar system, predominantly through government-led and scientifically focused robotic missions.

However, interest in, and the capabilities to undertake, exploration and uses of outer space are evolving and expanding. More countries are engaging in space activities. Private-sector involvement is increasing. Planning is under way for human as well as robotic missions. As recent advisory reports have highlighted, the changes in the nature of space activities create unprecedented challenges for planetary protection.

This publication responds to NASA’s request for “a short report on the impact of human activities on lunar polar volatiles (e.g., water, carbon dioxide, and methane) and the scientific value of protecting the surface and subsurface regions of the Earth’s Moon from organic and biological contamination.” It provides an overview of the current scientific understanding, value, and potential threat of organic and biological contamination of permanently shadowed regions (PSRs), lunar research relevant to understanding prebiotic evolution and the origin of life, and the likelihood that spacecraft landing on the lunar surface will transfer volatiles to polar cold traps. It also assesses how much and which regions of the Moon’s surface and subsurface warrant protection from organic and biological contamination because of their scientific value.

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