White House unveils planetary protection plan

White House unveils planetary protection plan

The White House unveiled a national plan for planetary protection indicating the measures to counter land degradation. This plan is a partnership between the National Space Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). It illustrates the work that must be done in the coming years to facilitate expanding personal space navigation capabilities. The plan informs the implementation of the adjusted National Space Policy in collaboration with NASA and other space firms to minimize the effect of biological contamination. Scott Pace of the National Space Council stated that the existing and future missions to Mars and other cosmic places have facilitated the evolution of the safe, sustainable, and secure Earth and space environment. Pace added that the development of objectives to initiate the National Space Policy measures on planetary protection would help America retain leadership in scientific innovation and invention, human exploration, and other space operations. 

The planetary protection plan outlines three perspectives in implementing the National Space Policy regulations. First, the plan must indicate risk preparedness and other scientific strategies to outline other sectors’ forward contamination. Moreover, the plan calls for the understanding of planetary protection for the government satellites entering private missions. The next aspect is preventing backward contamination of the Earth by extraterrestrial systems. The strategy calls for the assessment of the risks of recovering samples from return missions and other operations that result in back contamination. The last objective is to integrate the private sector concepts on planetary protection strategies considering companies’ emerging interests and desires to venture Mars and other parts of the world. This strategy also involves the establishment of measures to predict the implications of such missions to the private sector and the government. 

The strategy is vital since it sets out the aspects of the existing plan that the industry must implement to make the best of it before considering new policies. The strategy explains what the stakeholders must do to realize the National Space Policy’s objectives without altering them. Initially, planetary protection was the responsibility of NASA. However, the agency has been working on its planetary protection policies before embarking on those set out in the National Space Policy. The agency revealed that an independent board reviewed their operations to ensure that the upcoming lunar and Mars missions follow the planetary protection policies to prevent the incubation of future problems. The reviewers concluded that the agency has adhered to the articulated regulations and is hopeful that the other agencies and space companies preparing for such missions can imitate NASA. 

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