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mobile/modular bsl-4 facilities for meeting restricted earth return containment requirementsNASA robotic sample return missions designated Category V Restricted Earth Return by the NASA Planetary Protection Office require sample containment and biohazard testing in a receiving laboratory as directed by NASA Procedural Requirement (NPR) 8020.12D - ensuring the preservation and protection of Earth and the sample. Currently, NPR 8020.12D classifies Restricted Earth Return for robotic sample return missions from Mars, Europa, and Enceladus with the caveat that future proposed mission locations could be added or restrictions lifted on a case by case basis as scientific knowledge and understanding of biohazards progresses. Since the 1960s, sample containment from an unknown extraterrestrial biohazard have been related to the highest containment standards and protocols known to modern science. Today, Biosafety Level (BSL) 4 standards and protocols are used to study the most dangerous high-risk diseases and unknown biological agents on Earth. Over 30 BSL-4 facilities have been constructed worldwide with 12 residing in the United States; of theses, 8 are operational. In the last two decades, these brick and mortar facilities have cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars dependent on the facility requirements and size. Previous mission concept studies for constructing a NASA sample receiving facility with an integrated BSL-4 quarantine and biohazard testing facility have also been estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars. As an alternative option, we have recently conducted an initial trade study for constructing a mobile and/or modular sample containment laboratory that would meet all BSL-4 and planetary protection standards and protocols at a faction of the cost. Mobile and modular BSL-2 and 3 facilities have been successfully constructed and deployed world-wide for government testing of pathogens and pharmaceutical production. Our study showed that a modular BSL-4 construction could result in approximately 90% cost reduction when compared to traditional construction methods without compromising the preservation of the sample or Earth.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Calaway, M. J.
(Jacobs Technology, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
McCubbin, F. M.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Allton, J. H.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Zeigler, R. A.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Pace, L. F.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
February 17, 2017
Publication Date
March 20, 2017
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Law, Political Science and Space Policy
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Lunar and Planetary Science Conference(The Woodlands, TX)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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