NASA to Discuss Planetary Protection Review’s Findings and Recommendations

This scene from the panoramic camera on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity looks back toward part of the west rim of Endeavour Crater that the rover drove along, heading southward, during the summer of 2014. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will host a media teleconference at 3:30 p.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 18, to discuss recommendations presented by the Planetary Protection Independent Review Board (PPIRB), established in June 2019 by Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live on NASA’s website.

The PPIRB, comprised of a high-level team of 12 experts and stakeholders from science, engineering, and industry, examined the planetary protection guidelines the agency has used for decades in order to suggest changes needed to address the changing reality of space exploration.

Planetary Protection is the practice of protecting solar system bodies from contamination by Earth life and protecting Earth from possible life forms that may be returned from other solar system bodies.

The teleconference will provide an overview of the board’s 34 findings, and 43 recommendations.

The briefing participants are:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate
  • Alan Stern, planetary scientist and associate vice president of the Space Science and Engineering Division, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado
  • Tommy Sanford, executive director, Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Washington.
  • Amanda Hendrix, senior scientist, Planetary Science Institute, Lakewood, Colorado

A report with the board’s findings will be posted by 11 a.m. on Oct. 18, on the agency’s website.