Strengthening Planetary Protection Policies in the Second Space Age

Addressing vulnerability and promoting security
Posted Mar 24, 2021 | Center for International Governance Innovation, Chaitanya Giri

By the second half of the twenty-first century, human presence on the moon for long periods and interplanetary human travel to Mars can become a reality. These projects call for strengthening the Policy on Planetary Protection by widening the monitoring and vigilance mechanisms to prevent the “forward” and “backward” biochemical contamination of these unexplored celestial bodies, argues Chaitanya Giri in this article for the Center for International Governance Innovation. A Mars sample-return will elicit the preparations required for mission category V under the Policy on Planetary Protection. Any inadvertent forward contamination could jeopardize human knowledge about the habitability attributes of these planets forever, and backward contamination could potentially and fatally compromise life on Earth.


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