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Influence of Planetary Protection Guidelines on Waste Management OperationsNewly outlined missions in the Space Exploration Initiative include extended human habitation on Mars. During these missions, large amounts of waste materials will be generated in solid, liquid and gaseous form. Returning these wastes to Earth will be extremely costly, and will therefore likely remain on Mars. Untreated, these wastes are a reservoir of live/dead organisms and molecules considered to be "biomarkers" i.e., indicators of life). If released to the planetary surface, these materials can potentially confound exobiology experiments and disrupt Martian ecology indefinitely (if existent). Waste management systems must therefore be specifically designed to control release of problematic materials both during the active phase of the mission, and for any specified post-mission duration. To effectively develop waste management requirements for Mars missions, planetary protection guidelines must first be established. While previous policies for Apollo lunar missions exist, it is anticipated that the increased probability of finding evidence of life on Mars, as well as the lengthy mission durations will initially lead to more conservative planetary protection measures. To facilitate the development of overall requirements for both waste management and planetary protection for future missions, a workshop was conducted to identify how these two areas interface, and to establish a preliminary set of planetary protection guidelines that address waste management operations. This paper provides background regarding past and current planetary protection and waste management issues, and their interactions. A summary of the recommended planetary protection guidelines, anticipated ramifications and research needs for waste management system design for both forward (Mars) and backward (Earth) contamination is also provided.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Hogan, John A.
(National Space Grant Foundation Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Fisher, John W.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Levri, Julie A.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Wignarajah, Kanapathipi
(Enterprise Advisory Services, Inc. United States)
Race, Margaret S.
(Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Inst. United States)
Stabekis, Perry D.
(Windemere Group Washington, DC, United States)
Rummel, John D.
(NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2005
Subject Category
Man/System Technology And Life Support
Meeting Information
Meeting: 35th International Conference on Environmental Systems
Location: Rome
Country: Italy
Start Date: July 11, 2005
End Date: July 14, 2005
Funding Number(s)
OTHER: 131-20-10
Distribution Limits

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