National Aeronautics and Space Administration Planetary Protection Office
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The following online news articles present discussions relevant to various aspects of planetary protection. While all attempts are made to verify the links to the articles, NASA is not responsible in the event that an article is no longer maintained in an archive. Note that some online services require registration before their archives can be searched, and may additionally require payment to retrieve an archived article.

News Sites

General News

NASA Concerned With Earth Bacteria Infecting Mars on 2020 Mission, August 27, 2015

Earth Germs on Spacecraft: A Push for New Protections, August 26, 2015

Cameras Delivered for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission as Launch Prep Continues
PR Newswire, August 24, 2015

Where Will NASA’s 2020 Mars Rover Land?, August 20, 2015

Mind-blowing Pluto has ice mountains and water
CNN, July 16, 2015

Celebrations as Nasa’s New Horizons probe makes Pluto flyby – video, July 14, 2015

Why Scientists Have Been Scared of Space Germs for Almost 50 Years, June 22, 2015

Everything We’ve Learned from 50 Years of (Deliberate) Spaceship Crashes, May 5, 2015

NASA’s Messenger Probe Hits Mercury After a Smashing Mission, April 30, 2015

MESSENGER Comes To a Crashing End on Thursday, April 24, 2015

NASA’s New Horizons nears historic encounter with Pluto, April 17, 2015

NASA’s Dawn Probe Sees Dwarf Planet Ceres as a Crescent, April 17, 2015

Before Messenger crashes on Mercury, NASA bids spacecraft farewell, April 16, 2015

Briny Water May Challenge Future Mars Spacecraft Design, April 15, 2015

Report on Contamination Considerations for Mars 2020, April 15, 2015

Rise and shine: Rosetta’s Philae probe could be awake within weeks, April 14, 2015

Curiosity finds evidence of a daily water cycle on Mars
ArsTechnica, April 14, 2015

The Last Days of MESSENGER, April 12, 2015

Workshop on Planetary Protection Knowledge Gaps for Human Extraterrestrial Missions (Reverse Contamination), April 8

OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sampler Enters Final Assembly, April 1, 2015

Planetary Protection Workshop (Forward Contamination), March 27

Workshop on Planetary Protection Knowledge Gaps for Human Extraterrestrial Missions (Intro), March 25, 2015

NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Is Finally In Orbit Around Ceres, March 6, 2015

NASA Picks Prime Target for 2016 InSight Mars Lander, March 4, 2015

NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover To Dig-and-Ditch Its Samples – See more at:, February 27, 2015

How can we protect Mars from Earth while searching for life?, February 3, 2015

NASA budget proposal to initiate Europa mission plan, February 2, 2015


NASA’s Next Mars Lander Enters Final Assembly Stage, December 10, 2014


Hayabusa 2 launches on audacious asteroid adventure, December 3, 2014

Delaying Death: Mercury Spacecraft Firing Engines To Stay Up Until 2015, November 28, 2014

Philae Spacecraft Landed 3 Times on Speeding Comet: See Its First Photos, November 13, 2014

Elated scientists show off latest pics from historic Rosetta comet mission, November 13, 2014

Philae lander successfully touches down on comet in historic cosmic achievement, November 12, 2014

MAVEN uses special radio to relay data from Curiosity Mars rover, November 10, 2014

Mars rover Curiosity finds first mineral match: Oxidation in sample suggests energy source for microbes, November 7, 2014

To Europa! Mission to Jupiter’s Moon Gains Support in Congress, November 5, 2014

Ebola Outbreak May Hold Lessons for Handling Samples from Mars, October 30, 2014

Mars spacecraft moved as comet nears red planet, October 17, 2014

ESA’s Rosetta Mission sets November 12th as the Landing Date for Philae, September 27, 2014

MAVEN spacecraft and Indian orbiter deliver first images of Mars
LA Times, September 25, 2014

Mangalyaan enters Maritan Orbit: Narendra Modi says we have achieved the near impossible, September 24, 2014

NASA’s Maven Spacecraft Enters Mars Orbit
Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2014

NASA’s MESSENGER Spacecraft Headed For Mercury Impact
Forbes, September 22, 2014

Microbes thrive below Antarctic ice. A hint of life elsewhere in solar system?
Christian Science Monitor, August 20, 2014

Curiosity Reverses Back from Martian Valley of Slippery Sand and Finds Fourth Rock Drilling Candidate at ‘Bonanza King’, August 16, 2014

NASA’s Stardust Probe May Have Nabbed Dust From Interstellar Space
Huffington Post, August 14, 2014

Rosetta probe poised to touch and taste a comet
New Scientist, August 14, 2014

Europe’s Rosetta Spacecraft Makes Historic Arrival at Comet, August 6, 2014

NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload
Space Coast Daily, August 4, 2014

NASA’s Rosetta…Preparations To Parallel Park Alongside A Comet…First Communications To Earth…
Satnews, June 11, 2014

Extreme checklist to look for odd life on other worlds
New Scientist, June 9, 2014

Kate Becker: Testing the limits of survival in space
Daily Camera, May 15, 2014

Why Earth’s Spores Could Survive A Trip to Mars, May 12, 2014

NASA Research: Microbes from Earth Could Invade Mars Before Humans
Latin Post, May 3, 2014

RIP LADEE: NASA Moon Probe Crashes Into Lunar Surface, April 18, 2014

NASA’s LADEE lunar explorer crashes into moon, as planned
CBS News, April 18, 2014

Icebreaking Mars
Astrobiology Magazine, April 17, 2014

Mars Orbiter Spacecraft Crosses Half Way Mark of its Journey
Indian Space Research Organization press release, April 9, 2014

100 Days of MOM – India’s 1st Mars Mission Streaking to Red Planet Rendezvous, Feb. 16, 2014

China’s Yutu Moon Rover Alive and Awake for 3rd Lunar Day of Exploration despite Malfunction, Feb. 13, 2014

Science Instruments Perfect as NASA’s MAVEN Orbiter Speeds to Red Planet, Feb. 11, 2014

Water could be flowing on Mars now, Feb. 10, 2014

NASA Extends LADEE Dust Explorer for Bonus Lunar Science, Feb. 4, 2014

Planetary Protection: Preventing Microbial Hitchhiking
Astrobiology Web, Jan. 24, 2014

Jupiter Moon Europa May Have Water Geysers Taller Than Everest, Dec. 12, 2013

China’s lunar probe to land on moon next month, Nov. 26, 2013

MAVEN On Way to Mars After Flawless Launch
Discovery News, November 18, 2013

Photos and Video of India’s Mars Orbiter Mission, proceeding toward October 28 launch, Sep. 9, 2013

Watch the Launch of LADEE With Bill Nye, Aug. 23, 2013

NASA Moon Dust Probe Ready to Launch from Virginia Coast, Aug. 23, 2013

NASA’s new mission to study what makes the moon glow, Aug. 20, 2013

Appropriate protection of Mars
Nature Geosciences, 6, 587–588 (2013) [Published online July, 30 2013]

She Protects Planets, July, 23, 2013

A Good, Clean Hunt for life on Mars
The New Yorker July, 10, 2013

Objective of 2020 mission to Mars: Signs of life, NASA says
CNN, July 10, 2013

Science Team Outlines Goals for NASA’s 2020 Mars Rover
JPL, July 9, 2013

Is NASA Being Too Protective of Mars?
IEEE Spectrum, July 8, 2013

Antarctic Lake Vostok ‘might have fish’
BBC, July 8, 2013

Antarctic Lake Vostok buried under two miles of ice found to teem with life
The Telegraph, July 6, 2013

Study: Asteroids Provide Sustainable Resource, June 13, 2013

Cold-Loving Bacteria Offer Clues for Life on Mars, May 23, 2013

Private Mars colony won’t seek life on Red Planet, April 23, 2013

Life on Mars? Finding It May Require Humans on Red Planet, April 23, 2013

Planetary Protection: A Work in Progress, April 11, 2013

Russian scientist defends Lake Vostok life claims, March 12, 2013

Microbes survive a mixed bag of Mars biocidals
NASA Astrobiology, March 7, 2013

Life found deep under Antarctic ice for first time
National Geographic, Feb. 5, 2013

Microbes – possible hitchhikers to space?
Nanowerk, Jan. 31, 2013

Success! NASA’s GRAIL Probes Crash into the Moon
Discovery News, Dec. 17, 2012

Tune in here as NASA’s GRAIL spacecraft crash into the moon
LA Times, December 17, 2012

New age of exploration in the hunt for extreme life
BBC News, December 4, 2012

The Mercury plummets! Nasa probe reveals planet closest to the sun has ice and frozen organic materials at its north pole
Daily Mail, November 29, 2012

Manned Mars Missions Could Threaten Red Planet Life, October 24, 2012

Genome hunters go after martian DNA, October 18, 2012

If the Mars rover finds water, it could be H2 … uh oh!
LA Times, September 9, 2012

Steve Martin (the comedian) tweets about planetary protection!

Experimental Modeling of Sterilization Effects for Atmospheric Entry Heating on Microorganisms
NASA Tech Briefs, August 1, 2012

Employing a Grinding Technology to Assess the Microbial Density for Encapsulated Organisms
NASA Tech Briefs, July 1, 2012

Phobos-Grunt: Failed probe falls over Pacific’
BBC News Jan. 15, 2012

Don’t send bugs to Mars (Phobos-Grunt & Planetary Protection)
New Scientist Dec. 28, 2010

When biospheres collide: a history of NASA’s planetary protection programs
NASA E-Book, 2010

Nasa’s Grail twins to make gravity maps
BBC News, September 10, 2011

NASA’s Juno spacecraft heads to Jupiter with solar power
Energy Harvesting Journal, August 31, 2011

Mars Science Laboratory: engineers, scientists tackle challenges, June 7, 2006

Planetary protection study group mulls life on Venus, February 21, 2006

Earth life could invade Mars on contaminated craft
NewScientist, July 28, 2005

Martian life might threaten human mission
New Scientist, June 20, 2005

Earth microbes may survive on Mars
New Scientist, June 2, 2005

Planetary uncertainty principle
Astrobiology Magazine, June 21, 2004

Not on my planet: real-life man in black thwarts alien invaders
Stanford Magazine, May/June 2004

A galactic warrior, with hypothetical enemies
University of Missouri, April 24, 2004

Your planetary protection officer; what on Earth does he do?, April 20, 2004

Life on Mars – but ‘we sent it’
New Scientist, March 25, 2004

Crabs in space
New Scientist, March 13, 2004
(registration required to access full text)

Cleaning up after Martian exploration
The Space Review, August 2003

Alien infection
Astrobiology Magazine, August 2003

Japan’s Nozomi Mars probe stirs contamination qualms, July 3, 2003

Mars Exploration Rover spacecraft undergo biological testing and cleaning prior to June launches
NASA News, May 23, 2003

Planetary protection: an integral part of mission preparations, May 1, 2003

Profiles: Space Man
Red Herring, August 2002
(subscription required)

Law, ethics, and extra-terrestrial life
Space Daily, October 1, 2001

Martian microbes
ABC [Australian Broadcast System] News, September 20, 2001

The stowaways
Nature Magazine, September 20, 2001
(registration required to search archive)

A job for our ‘planetary protection officer’
Christian Science Monitor, May 31, 2001

Mars attacks? Protecting Earth from off-world infections, April 4, 2001

Interstellar invaders: protecting the Earth, September 11, 2000

Scientists try to avoid germ scare on Jupiter moon, June 20, 2000

Sample return missions scare some researchers, April 9, 2000

Defender of the planet
New Scientist, September 18, 1999

Bring ‘em back alive – or at least carefully: planetary protection provisions for solar system exploration missions
Ad Astra Magazine, 1999