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Planetary Protection Requirements for Sample-Return Missions from Martian Moons

Statement of Task

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will establish an ad hoc committee to review and assess recent research sponsored by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) relating to the planetary protection concern that hypothetical martian life might exist on the surfaces of the martian moons, Phobos and Deimos, consequent to their ejection from the surface of Mars following a major impact event. In particular, the committee will address the following tasks:

1. Review, in the context of current understanding of conditions relevant to inactivation of carbon-based life, recent theoretical, experimental, and modelling research on the environments and physical conditions encountered by Mars ejecta during the following processes:

a) excavation from the martian surface via crater-forming events;

b) while in transit through cismartian space;

c) during deposition on Phobos or Deimos; and

d) after deposition on Phobos or Deimos;

2. Recommend whether missions returning samples from Phobos and/or Deimos should be classified as "restricted" or "unrestricted" Earth return in the framework of the planetary protection policy maintained by the ICSU Committee on Space Research (COSPAR); and

3. Suggest any other refinements in planetary protection requirements that that might be required to accommodate spacecraft missions to and sample returned from Phobos and/or Deimos.


November 7-9, 2017
View Agenda I View Presentations

London, England 


David Pearce -
Northumbria University
Athena Coustenis
National Centre for Scientific Research of France
Michael J. Daly

Uniformed Services University
Abigail Fraeman

Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Guy Libourel

Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur
Robin Putzar
Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics
Kaliat T. Ramesh

Johns Hopkins University
Norman H. Sleep
Stanford University
Megan B. Syal
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)


David Smith
Senior Program Officer
Mia Brown
Research Associate
Andrea Rebholz
Program Coordinator



November 7-9, 2017

Below is an archive list of names and a link to the slides presented at the committee meeting during open session. We have only included the slides for which the presenter has given consent to post.

Presenter names and slides are listed in the order of the agenda.Presentations which have been made available for posting will be added after the panel meeting is complete.

Emmanouil Detsis-No slides
David Pearce-Pending permission
Gerhard Kminek
Catharine Conley
Akihiko Yamagishi-Pending permission
Manish Patel
Kai Finster-No slides
Michael Daly-Pending permission
K.T. Ramesh-No slides
Pobin Putzar,-Pending Permission
Megan Bruck Syal-No slides
Akiko Nakamura-No slides

* No slides indicate that the presenter did not utilize slides during their presentation.

* Permission pending indicates that the presenter has not given us consent to publish the slides they presented at the meeting.

*Written materials submitted to a study committee by external sources are listed in the project's public access file and can be made available to the public upon request via the Academies Public Access Records Office.