Planetary Protection

Authored by: Catharine A. Conley

Handbook of Astrobiology

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138065123
eBook ISBN: 9781315159966
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter provides a brief summary of planetary protection policy and implementation, including the current context and historical aspects of its development, as well as outlining applicability to select future missions. The issues that planetary protection addresses range from the highly technical, including astrobiological and other scientific questions, as well as engineering implementation, to the purely societal and legal, including concerns over invasive species and negotiation of international regulations. As with most technical and academic endeavors, the wider context in which researchers carry out their studies may have an enormous impact on the research that can be performed. It is important for all educated citizens but particularly for researchers involved in esoteric and expensive taxpayer-funded work to participate in the social and cultural conversations that surround them.

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