NASA has decided to amend its policy to protect the studied extraterrestrial objects and the planet from pollution. Such a commitment has already been made on the future Artemis mission.
NASA administrator Jim Brandstein said on Twitter that the administration will protect scientific discoveries and the Earth’s environment, while allowing the dynamic study of human and commercial innovation on the moon and Mars.
What NASA updated its policy
The space Agency is concerned that the new study area may be exposed to biological contamination associated with human presence, and this could jeopardize the search for extraterrestrial life. At the same time, NASA want to ensure the safety of missions for the Earth’s environment and limit pollution from space.
NASA updated its policy two time directives. The first mission dedicated to Artemis. The program provides for landing two astronauts on the moon in 2024 and the establishment of a sustainable human presence until 2028. The representative of the Directorate of scientific missions NASA Thomas Zurbuchen explained: “We are pursuing the important goal of sustainable exploration of the moon, while protecting the future of science. These objects are of great scientific value for the formation of our understanding of the history of our planet, moon and Solar system”.
The second Directive is devoted to the problem of biological contamination for lunar missions and missions to Mars. The Agency says it will use the data and experience obtained during ground tests, to create principles and developing the capacity for monitoring biological processes related to human presence in space research.
The guidelines also envisaged the development of technologies to reduce pollution, such as tools and methods for disposal of wastes. In addition, the Agency wants to better investigate the processes in the environment of Mars to understand how to properly dispose of the results of human activity.
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