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OSIRIS REx Sample Return Doesn’t Pose a Risk to Earth’s Biosphere

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OSIRIS-REx

When OSIRIS-REx returns a sample of the asteroid Bennu to Earth on September 24, 2023, it will kick off a carefully orchestrated retrieval process. One thing the retrieval team won’t need to worry about is protecting Earth and its inhabitants from the sample.

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Register Now for the Planetary Protection Organic Inventory and Archiving Workshop

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PP hero

Registration is now open for a hybrid Planetary Protection Organic Inventory and Archiving Workshop, which will take place from Feb. 27-28, 2024, both virtually and in-person at NASA Headquarters.

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OSIRIS REx Sample Return Doesn’t Pose a Risk to Earth’s Biosphere

2-minute read
OSIRIS-REx

When OSIRIS-REx returns a sample of the asteroid Bennu to Earth on September 24, 2023, it will kick off a carefully orchestrated retrieval process. One thing the retrieval team won’t need to worry about is protecting Earth and its inhabitants from the sample.

Read More

SMA Leadership Profile: Nick Benardini

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SMA Leadership Profile: Dr. J. Nick Benardini

As NASA’s Planetary Protection Officer, James “Nick” Benardini knows his role is all about the community: his NASA discipline colleagues, agency programs and projects, the international community, and academia. 

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Protecting the Planet: Planetary Protection vs. Planetary Defense

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Planet Earth

Although both Planetary Protection and Planetary Defense programs at NASA include the word “planetary” and aim to protect the planet, that’s where similarities end. These two vital efforts oversee very different aspects of the agency’s role in protecting Earth, and in some cases, other planets. 

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NASA Releases New Planetary Protection Standard

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Policy

NASA’s Office of Safety and Mission Assurance released NASA-STD-8719.27, Planetary Protection Standard, effective Aug. 30, 2022. The standard is a follow-on document complementing NPR 8715.24, Planetary Protection Provisions for Robotic Extraterrestrial Missions. It addresses and is relevant to both crewed and robotic missions and covers the technical details a mission should consider for the design and execution of the Planetary Protection mission throughout the project life cycle. It is relevant starting in the Mission Concept Review and System Requirements Review phase by defining the Planetary Protection categorization to end-of-mission disposal reporting.

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New Course Introduces Key Planetary Protection Concepts

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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, details of its implementation and practices, and information about its applicability to some of NASA’s space flight missions.

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COSPAR Meeting on Planetary Protection for Crewed Mars Missions

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COSPAR Meeting on Planetary Protection for Crewed Mars Missions

The Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) is holding a workshop June 1 and 2, 9:30 a.m.  to 3 p.m. Eastern, for experts to weigh in on aspects of quarantine and sample containment for the first crewed Mars mission. 

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NPR 8715.24 Updates Agency’s Approach to Planetary Protection

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Mars 2020

NASA’s Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA) recently released NPR 8715.24, Planetary Protection Provisions for Robotic Extraterrestrial Missions, effective Sept. 24, 2021. The new NASA Procedural Requirement (NPR) covers the agency’s new paradigm and overall approach to Planetary Protection and takes the place of the now cancelled NPR 8020.12D, Planetary Protection Provisions for Robotic Extraterrestrial Missions to integrate Planetary Protection. 

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COSPAR Updates Planetary Protection Policy for Lunar Missions

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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

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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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