Your Planetary Protection Officer

Brendan I. Koerner, Slate

This is a brief article about John Rummel, NASA's Planetary Protection Officer. It explains the purpose of planetary protection (to prevent contamination of Earth by alien life forms and of space by Earth's life forms), gives some historical background about NASA's planetary protection policies, and gives examples of recent protocols for sterilization of spacecraft. There are links to the Planetary Protection Office website, the 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Bodies, and updated policy guidelines.

Subject: Biology, Geoscience:Lunar and Planetary Science:Mars, Mars:Life on Mars, Environmental Science:Policy:US National Policy, Geoscience:Lunar and Planetary Science, Environmental Science:Policy:Global Policy, Biology:Microbiology, Astrobiology, Environmental Science:Policy
Grade Level: General Public, High School (9-12)Keywords: NASA, planetary protection, astrobiology