New Course Introduces Key Planetary Protection Concepts

New Course Introduces Key Planetary Protection Concepts

2-minute read
New Course Introduces Key Planetary Protection Concepts

Last month, the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance and NASA Safety Center released “Planetary Protection Overview” (SMA-STL-WBT-300) in SATERN. The new course includes the definition of Planetary Protection (PP), details of its implementation and practices, and information about its applicability to some of NASA’s space flight missions.

“This course was made to streamline Planetary Protection fundamentals and concepts across the agency, making it possible for the widest audience to have access to PP training,” said Nick Benardini, NASA Planetary Protection Officer. “We are in the process of revamping our training from the bottom up, given our updated policy releases.”

The entirely online course meets the current needs of agency learners who may not be able to travel for in-person training. After this introductory course, the Planetary Protection office hopes to drive learners to additional training more customized for the work they do.  

“We envision this course as a first step in the PP online curriculum, with subsequent modules on key processes and focused topics for users to apply to their specific mission,” explained Benardini. “This course is one tool — in addition to the website, webinars and policy — that end users can go to in order to learn more about Planetary Protection and the potential applicability to their mission. We see this course as one of the command media options that are key to training, which then empowers programmatic decision-making regarding PP execution and implementation in alignment with the roles and responsibilities shift of NPR 8715.24.”

Any NASA employee or contractor supporting a mission to beyond Low-Earth Orbit should consider taking this course. 

“It’s a good jumping-off point to either refresh your current understanding of Planetary Protection or to help you appreciate the basics of PP and perhaps understand if it applies to the missions you are working,” said Benardini. “This class would be helpful for a program executive, project manager, hardware delivery engineer, cleanroom operator and everyone in between.”

To take the course, go to SATERN and search for “Planetary Protection Overview” or course ID “SMA-STL-WBT-300.”