April 21, 2014


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Planetary Protection Standards for Icy Bodies in the Outer Solar System

 Report Released April 7, 2012: Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Spacecraft Missions to Icy Solar System Bodies

Statement of Task

An ad-hoc committee will be organized under the auspices of the Space Studies Board to develop and recommend planetary protection standards for future spacecraft missions, including possible landers and subsurface probes, to the icy bodies in the outer solar system (asteroids, satellites, Kuiper Belt objects, and comets) in light of current scientific understanding and ongoing improvements in mission-enabling capabilities and technologies.
Specifically, the committee will consider the following subjects and make recommendations, as appropriate, in a report to NASA:

1. The possible factors that usefully could be included in a Coleman-Sagan formulation describing the probability that various types of missions might contaminate with Earth life any liquid water, either naturally occurring or induced by human activities, on or within specific target icy bodies or classes of objects;

2. The range of values that can be estimated for the above factors based on current knowledge, as well as an assessment of conservative values for other specific factors that might be provided to missions targeting individual bodies or classes of objects; and

3. Scientific investigations that could reduce the uncertainty in the above estimates and assessments, as well as technology developments that would facilitate implementation of planetary protection requirements and/or reduce the overall probability of contamination.

View further information about  Planetary Protection Standards for Icy Bodies in the Outer Solar System on our current projects system.


January 31, 2011 - February 2, 2011
Washington D.C. 20001

March 16, 2011 - March 18, 2011
Irvine, California

May 13, 2011 - May 13, 2011

June 14, 2011 - June 16, 2011.
Irvine, California

August 22, 2011 - August 22, 2011

Committee Membership

Committee Biographic Information

Dr. Mitchell L. Sogin; (Chair)
Marine Biological Laboratory
Dr. Michael J. Daly
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Dr. Geoffrey Collins; (Vice Chair)
Wheaton College
Mr. Joseph R. Fragola
Valador, Inc.
Ms. Amy Baker
Technical Administrative Services
Dr. Rosaly M. Lopes
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Dr. John A. Baross
University of Washington
Dr. Kenneth H. Nealson
University of Southern California
Dr. Amy C. Barr
Southwest Research Institute
Mr. Douglas S. Stetson
Space Science and Exploration Consulting Group
Dr. William V. Boynton
University of Arizona
Dr. Mark H. Thiemens; NAS 
University of California, San Diego
Dr. Charles S. Cockell
Open University

Staff Officer
Mr. Joseph K. Alexander 
National Research Council 

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