Explore Planetary Protection

Looking for educational resources related to Planetary Protection? This Explore page provides informational articles, videos, exercises and more. New resources will continue to be added.

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Just How Small Is a Spore?

Spores

1-minute read
Spores

 The video and associated exercise, both named "Just How Small Is a Spore?" provide a visualization of spacecraft contamination.

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Behind the Spacecraft Perseverance

Spores

1-minute read
Perseverance and Mars Helicopter

How NASA ensures its rovers don't contaminate Mars.

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What Are Spores?

Spores

4-minute read
Bacillus thuringiensis

Before we examine what spores are, it’s helpful to understand why we care when it comes to Planetary Protection.

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Cleanroom Gowning or How to Dress in the Cleanroom

Cleanrooms

4-minute read
Engineers in APL

Before embarking on missions in space, NASA spacecraft and rovers are assembled in special facilities called cleanrooms. Cleanrooms are designed to be pristine. Cleanroom conditions control particulate, molecular, and biological contamination of hardware destined for exploration beyond Earth. 

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Ground Support Equipment

Cleanrooms

3-minute read
Mars 2020 Hero

Ground Support Equipment (GSE) is critical to spacecraft build. The equipment can be quite large, including hardware rotation fixtures, cranes, hardware used in specialized lifts and moves, shipping crates, and tall ballymores and ladders. This type of GSE is complex and extremely large. GSE also includes electrical cables, tools, vacuum hoses, computers, phones, tables, benches, chairs and any other non-flight equipment used to support the assembly activities. 

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