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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
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Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection

Evaluation of Bioburden
Requirements for Mars Missions

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
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

This study is based on work supported by Contract NNH17CB02B/NNH17CB01T 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.

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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26336.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
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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. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
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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. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
×

COMMITTEE ON PLANETARY PROTECTION

JOSEPH K. ALEXANDER, Alexander Space Policy Consultants, Co-Chair

AMANDA R. HENDRIX, Planetary Science Institute, Co-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

ANDREW D. HORCHLER, Astrobotic Technology, Inc.

DAVID M. KARL, NAS,1 University of Hawaii, Manoa

EUGENE H. LEVY, Rice University

ROBERT E. LINDBERG, JR., Independent Consultant

MARGARITA M. MARINOVA, Project Kuiper

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

ANDREA HODGSON, Senior Program Officer, Board on Life Sciences (through July 2021)

NANCY CONNELL Senior Scientist, Board on Life Sciences (from July 2021)

KATHERINE DZURILLA, Contract Worker, Space Studies Board

LILY DAVEY, Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern, Space Studies Board

MEGAN CHAMBERLAIN, Senior Program Assistant, Space Studies Board

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

KAVITA M. BERGER, Director, Board on Life Sciences

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
×

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. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
×

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

SEAN M. DECATUR, Kenyon College

SCOTT V. EDWARDS, NAS, 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, Nova Southeastern University

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

CLAIRE POMEROY, NAM, Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation

SUSAN RUNDELL SINGER, Rollins College

DAVID R. WALT, NAE3/NAM, Harvard Medical School

PHYLLIS M. WISE, NAM, University of Colorado

Staff

KAVITA M. BERGER, Director

FRAN SHARPLES, Advisor

JO HUSBANDS, Scholar and Senior Project Director

NANCY D. CONNELL, Senior Scientist

ANDREA HODGSON, Senior Program Officer

STEVEN MOSS, Program Officer

AUDREY THÉVENON, Program Officer

MATTHEW ANDERSON, Financial Business Partner

JESSICA DE MOUY, Senior Program Assistant

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

2 Member, National Academy of Medicine.

3 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
×

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 Space Studies Board 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 Board1 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 this report, Science Mission Directorate and Office of Safety and Mission Assurance leadership requested that the CoPP draft a report with findings evaluating criteria to identify locations on Mars that may be suitable for a lower spacecraft bioburden requirement than as currently required as part of COSPAR’s Category IV. This is a changing and highly complex issue, as reflected in the discussions within the CoPP and from external presenters at its meetings. However, with the upcoming plans for both robotic and human exploration on Mars by both government agencies and commercial industry, now is an appropriate time for such considerations and discussions in order to ensure that future science is preserved as the next stage of Martian science and exploration begins.

To gather information and discuss the issues, the CoPP met six times in 2021, virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, on the following dates: March 24-25, April 5, April 19, May 6, May 17, and June 3. A completed draft of this report was assembled on July 12, 2021.

The committee would like to thank Lisa Pratt (NASA), Chris McKay (NASA Ames Research Center), Scott Hubbard (Stanford University), Christopher House (Pennsylvania State University), John Rummel (Friday Harbor Partners), Penelope Boston (NASA Ames Research Center), Alfred McEwen (University of Arizona), Matthew Golombek (Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology), Eric Ianson (NASA), Michael Meyer (NASA), Andrew Schuerger (University of Florida), Jacqueline Goordial (University of Guelph), Scot Rafkin (Southwest Research Institute), Michael Schmoyer (Office of Science and Technology Policy), Martell Winters (Nelson Laboratories), Thomas Sanford (Commercial Spaceflight Federation), Kris Zacny (Honeybee Robotics), Tilman Spohn (International Space Science Institute), Matthew Siegler (Planetary Science Institute), Edgard Rivera-Valentin (Lunar and Planetary Institute), Jen Blank (Blue Marble Space Institute of Science), Bob Grimm

___________________

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

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

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
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(Southwest Research Institute), Steve Clifford (Planetary Science Institute), J. Nick Benardini (NASA), and Javier Martin-Torres (University of Aberdeen) for their presentations to the CoPP.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
×

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:

Jennifer Blank, Blue Marble Space Institute,

Charles Cockell, University of Edinburgh,

Charles F. Kennel, NAS,1 University of California, San Diego,

Nancy Merino, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,

Margaret Race, SETI Institute,

Edgard Rivera-Valentin, Lunar and Planetary Institute,

Mark Thiemens, NAS, University of California, San Diego, and

Martell Winters, Nelson Laboratories.

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 monitored by Joan B. Rose, NAE,2 Michigan State University, and Katherine H. Freeman, NAS, Pennsylvania State University. They were 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.

2 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
×
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Report Series: Committee on Planetary Protection: Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26336.
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Since the 1980s, national and international planetary protection policies have sought to avoid contamination by terrestrial organisms that could compromise future investigations regarding the origin or presence of Martian life. Over the last decade, the number of national space agencies planning, participating in, and undertaking missions to Mars has increased, and private-sector enterprises are engaged in activities designed to enable commercial missions to Mars. The nature of missions to Mars is also evolving to feature more diversity in purposes and technologies. As missions to Mars increase and diversify, national and international processes for developing planetary protection measures recognize the need to consider the interests of scientific discovery, commercial activity, and human exploration. The implications of these changes for planetary protection should be considered in the context of how much science has learned about Mars, and about terrestrial life, in recent years.

At the request of NASA, this report identifies criteria for determining locations on Mars potentially suitable for landed robotic missions that satisfy less stringent bioburden requirements, which are intended to manage the risk of forward contamination.

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