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COSPAR Updates Planetary Protection Policy for Lunar Missions

3-minute read
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Artist Concept

Recently, the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) updated its Planetary Protection policy for the Moon, including adding Category II sub-designations to accommodate missions to different regions. The new Category IIa and IIb designations reflect the importance of the Permanently Shadowed Regions (PSRs) to science and the Artemis generation of human exploration.

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COSPAR Updates Planetary Protection Policy for Lunar Missions

3-minute read
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Artist Concept

Recently, the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) updated its Planetary Protection policy for the Moon, including adding Category II sub-designations to accommodate missions to different regions. The new Category IIa and IIb designations reflect the importance of the Permanently Shadowed Regions (PSRs) to science and the Artemis generation of human exploration.

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NASA Announces New Planetary Protection Officer

2-minute read
Dr. J. Nick Benardini

NASA named Dr. J. Nick Benardini as the agency Planetary Protection Officer within the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, effective June 7.

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Ingenuity Helicopter to Take Flight in April

3-minute read
Ingenuity Helicopter to Take Flight in April

The Mars Ingenuity Helicopter will take its first steps toward demonstrating powered flight in the Martian atmosphere, with a first attempt at a powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet scheduled for no earlier than April 8, 2021. The helicopter rode to Mars in the Perseverance Rover's belly pan and will be deployed for flight testing from the red planet's surface in April. 

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Mars Perseverance Rover Set to Land on the Red Planet Feb. 18

2-minute read
Mars Helicopter, visible in lower center of the image, was attached to the belly of NASA

The Mars 2020 mission, including the Perseverance Rover and Ingenuity Helicopter, will land on Mars on February 18, 2021. A first on a Mars mission, the Sample Caching System included on Perseverance will collect and store short cores of Martian rocks and soils destined for future return to Earth and study with advanced instrumentation. The system is complex, including a drill for sample collection and tubes to seal and store the collected samples until a future mission can retrieve them.  

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Updated: NASA Updates Planetary Protection Policies

1-minute read
Earth, Moon and Mars

NASA released two NASA Interim Directives (NIDs) updating the agency’s requirements for robotic and human missions traveling to the Earth’s Moon and human missions traveling to Mars.

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NASA to Discuss Planetary Protection Review’s Findings and Recommendations

1-minute read
Solar System

NASA recently announced a media teleconference that will take place at 3:30 p.m. Eastern, Friday, Oct. 18, to discuss recommendations presented by the Planetary Protection Independent Review Board, established in June 2019 by Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. 

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Planetary Protection Welcomes New Deputy Officer

3-minute read
Elaine Seasly

The Office of Safety and Mission Assurance recently named Elaine Seasly as the deputy Planetary Protection Officer. In this role, she will be supporting the Office of Planetary Protection in its efforts to promote the responsible exploration of the solar system by implementing and developing efforts that protect the science, explored environments and Earth.

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Learn More: Planetary Protection Policies and Practices Course

2-minute read
Solar Panel Insight

NASA’s Planetary Protection program offers the course “Planetary Protection: Policies and Practices” one to two times a year, with the next offering being Oct. 30-Nov.1, 2018 at Kennedy Space Center. This course, which has been active for more than 15 years, covers what the requirements are for Planetary Protection for robotic missions, how to meet those requirements and lessons learned from past missions.

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