An article at Space.Com discusses a new push to make sure that spacecraft do not inadvertently contaminate the places they are visiting (e.g., Mars). What microbes are on space vehicles and how to make sure the parts that are sent to other planets are “clean” or “sterile” is an interesting and active area of research. We have written about this issue here on microBEnet in the past and this is part of the reasoning behind our Project MERCCURI. More about that another time. Just thought some might be interested in this story on Space.Com about this issue.
Today’s spacecraft feature sensitive gear that may not be able to withstand the extreme heat treatment that sterilized previous Red Planet explorers such as NASA’s Viking landers, said Penelope Boston.