Two university researchers say environmental restrictions have become unnecessarily restrictive and expensive – on Mars.
Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, astrobiologists Alberto Fairén of Cornell Univ. and Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State Univ. say the NASA Office of Planetary Protection’s “detailed and expensive” efforts to keep Earth microorganisms off Mars are making missions to search for life on the red planet “unviable.” The researchers claim “the protocols and policies of planetary protection are unnecessarily restricting Mars exploration and need to be revised.”
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