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Planetary protection: an international concern and responsibility

Coustenis, Athena and Hedman, Niklas and Doran, Peter T. and Al Shehhi, Omar and Ammannito, Eleonora and Fujimoto, Masaki and Grasset, Olivier and Groen, Frank and Hayes, Alexander G. and Ilyin, Vyacheslav and Kumar, K Praveen and Morisset, Caroline-Emmanuelle and Mustin, Christian and Olsson-Francis, Karen and Peng, Jing and Prieto-Ballesteros, Olga and Raulin, Francois and Rettberg, Petra and Sinibaldi, Silvio and Suzuki, Yohey and Xu, Kanyan and Zaitsev, Maxim (2023) Planetary protection: an international concern and responsibility. Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences, 10, p. 1172546. Frontiers Media S.A.. doi: 10.3389/fspas.2023.1172546. ISSN 2296-987X.

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Official URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fspas.2023.1172546


Planetary protection is a set of measures agreed upon at an international level to ensure the protection of scientific investigation during space exploration. As space becomes more accessible with traditional and new actors launching complex and innovative projects that involve robotics (including sample return) and human exploration, we have the responsibility to protect the pristine environments that we explore and our own biosphere. In this sense, the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) provides the international standard for planetary protection as well as a forum for international consultation. COSPAR has formulated a Planetary Protection Policy with associated requirements for responsible space exploration. Although not legally binding under international law, the standard offered by the Policy with its associated requirements is internationally endorsed along with implementation guidelines supplied for reference in support States’ compliance with Article IX of the United Nations Outer Space Treaty of 1967. Indeed, States parties to the Outer Space Treaty (under Article VI) are responsible for any space activities in their countries, governmental and non-governmental. The main goal of this Policy is to avoid compromising the search for any lifeforms on other celestial bodies and to protect the Earth from a potential threat posed by extraterrestrial samples returned by an interplanetary mission. The COSPAR Planetary Protection Policy has defined five categories, depending on the target and objective of the specific space mission. Associated to these categories are requirements are various degrees of rigor in the contamination control applied. The Policy is assessed regularly and updated with input from new scientific findings and in conjunction with the fast-evolving space exploration milieu. The COSPAR Panel on Planetary Protection (PPP) is a designated international committee composed of scientists, agency representatives and space experts. Its role is to support and revise the COSPAR Policy and its related requirements (https://cosparhq.cnes.fr/scientific-structure/panels/panel-on-planetary-protection-ppp/). The Panel’s activities deal with the individual needs of a space mission while exercising swift care and expertise to ensure sustainable exploration of the Solar System.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/195348/
Document Type:Article
Title:Planetary protection: an international concern and responsibility
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Hedman, NiklasCommittee, Policy and Legal Affairs Section, Office for Outer Space Affairs, United Nations Office at Vienna, Vienna, AustriaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Doran, Peter T.Department of Geology and Geophysics, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, United StatesUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Al Shehhi, OmarUnited Arab Emirates Space Agency, Abu Dhabi, United Arab EmiratesUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Ammannito, EleonoraItalian Space Agency, Rome, ItalyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Fujimoto, MasakiJapan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Institute of Space and Astronaut. Science (ISAS), Sagamihara, Kanagawa, JapanUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Grasset, OlivierLaboratoire de planétologie et Géosciences, Nantes Université, Nantes, FranceUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Groen, FrankNational Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, United StatesUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Hayes, Alexander G.Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science, Astronomy Department, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, United StatesUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Ilyin, VyacheslavRussian Federation State Research Center Institute for Biomedical Programs, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, RussiaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Kumar, K PraveenIndian Space Research Organisation, Bangalore, IndiaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Morisset, Caroline-EmmanuelleCanadian Space Agency, Route de l’Aéroport Saint-Hubert, Longueuil, QC, CanadaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Mustin, ChristianCentre National d’Etudes Spatiales, Paris, FranceUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Olsson-Francis, KarenAstrobiologyOU, Faculty of Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United KingdomUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Peng, JingChina National Space Administration, Beijing, ChinaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Prieto-Ballesteros, OlgaDepartment of Planetology and Habitability, Centro de Astrobiologia (CSIC-INTA), Torrejon de Ardoz, Madrid, SpainUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Raulin, FrancoisLaboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systémes Atmosphériques, Université Paris-Est Créteil and Université Paris Cité, CNRS, Créteil, FranceUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Rettberg, PetraUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4439-2395UNSPECIFIED
Sinibaldi, SilvioEuropean Space Agency, ESTEC, Noordwijk, NetherlandsUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Suzuki, YoheyDepartment of Earth and Planetary Science, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, JapanUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Xu, KanyanLaboratory of Space Microbiology, Shenzhou Space Biotechnology Group, Chinese Academy of Space Technology, Beijing, ChinaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Zaitsev, MaximPlanetary Physics Department, Space Research Institute of Russian Acad of Sciences, Moscow, RussiaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:30 May 2023
Journal or Publication Title:Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:p. 1172546
Publisher:Frontiers Media S.A.
Keywords:Planetary protection, COSPAR, space exploration, contamination control, sterilization, space mission, outer space treaty, bioburden (reduction)
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Project ISS LIFE 2.0
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Deposited By: Kopp, Kerstin
Deposited On:06 Jun 2023 08:55
Last Modified:05 Jul 2023 11:48

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