Dec 9, 2020 — About the Planetary Protection Interagency Working Group ://whitehouse/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/National-Space-Policy.pdf
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NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR PLANETARY PROTECTION i About the National Space Council The National Space Council (NSpC) was established by Title V of Public Law 100 – 685 on November 17, 1988, and its functions and composition were further detailed in Executive Order 12675, which was signed by President George H.W. Bush on April 20, 1989. The NSpC ceased operation from 1993 until June 30, 2017, when it was revived by Executive Order 13803 , which was sig ned by President Donald J. Trump . T hrough this executive order, the NSpC is tasked with advising and assisting the President regarding national space policy and strategy . Under the leadership of its chair, the Vice President of the United States, the NSpC membership of C abinet – level S ecretaries and other senior e xecutive b ranch officials regularly convene s to address a broad portfolio of civil, commercial, national security, and international space policy matters as they pertain to the entirety of the U nit ed States space enterprise. The NSpC operates as an office of policy development within the Executive Office of the President , and its staff is led by a civilian Executive Secretary . About the Planetary Protection Interagency Working Group The Planetary P rotection Interagency Working Group ( PP – IWG) convened on July 20, 2020, to assess, coordinate, and implement national priorities regarding the prevention of potentially harmful biological contamination in the exploration of other planetary bodies , and was co – chaired by NSpC staff and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) . The primary goal of the PP – IWG was to create a National Strategy for Planetary Protection that considers the changing landscape of space exploration and weighs intere sts of all stakeholders. About the National Strategy for Planetary Protection This document was developed through extensive interagency deliberation among U nited States Government department and agency representatives involved in the PP – IWG . This Strateg y will advance the Nation s role in the sustainable exploration of space by appropriately protecting other planetary bodies and the Earth from potentially harmful biological contamination from space exploration activities. The Strategy builds on efforts by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and other stakeholders in the Federal G overnment to develop a more cohesive n ational effort that balances scientific discovery, human explor ation, and commercial activity in space.

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NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR PLANETARY PROTECTION ii THE INTERAGENCY WORKING GROUP ON PLANETARY PROTECTION Co – c hairs Chris Beauregard, National Space Council Michael Schmoyer, PhD, Office of Science and Technology Policy Members Ex ecutive Office of the President National Security Council National Space Council Office of Management and Budget Office of Science and Technology Policy Office of White House Counsel Departments Department of Agriculture Department of Commerce Department of Defense Department of Health and Human Services Department of Homeland Security Department of Justice Department of State Department of Transportation Agencies Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Environmental Protection Agency Federal Aviation Administration Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Emergency Management Agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR PLANETARY PROTECTION iii Acronyms DOC Department of Commerce DOD Department of Defense DOI Department of the Interior DOJ Department of Justice EPA Environmental Protection Agency FAA Federal Aviation Ad ministration FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation FCC Federal Communications Commission FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency HHS Department of Health and Human Services IWG Interagency Working Group NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administrati on NASEM National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine NSpC National Space Council NSTC National Science and Technology Council ODNI Office of the Director of National Intelligence OSTP Office of Science and Technology Policy PP – IWG Planetary Protection Interagency Working Group PPO Planetary Protection Office UNCOPUOS United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space USCG United States Coast Guard USDA Department of Agriculture

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NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR PLANETARY PROTECTION iv Table of Contents Executive Summary .. .. .. .. . 1 Introduction .. .. .. .. . 2 Principles and Goals .. .. .. .. 4 Objectives .. .. .. .. . 5 Objective 1: Avoid harmful forward contamination by developing and implementing risk assessment and science – based guidelines , and updating the interagency payload review process 5 Objective 2: Avoid backward contamination by developing a Restricted Return Program to protect a gainst adverse effects on the Earth environment due to the potential return of extraterrestrial life . 6 Objective 3: Incorporate the p erspective and needs of the private sector by soliciting feedback and developing guidelines regarding private sector activities with potential planetary protection implications .. .. .. .. 7 Conclusion .. .. .. .. 8

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NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR PLANETARY PROTECTION 2 Introduction Over the last half – century, most U nited States space activities beyond near – E arth orbits have been comprised of G overnment – led science missions to the surface, or in the vicinity, of other planetary bodies. However, a s future missions are planned, they will need to account for an evolving space exploration landscape and reflect the growing number and diversity of spa ce actors and mission profiles . Namely, t he future of space exploration and the search for life elsewhere in the universe will include novel tech nologies, missions of increasing complexity , advances in the field of astrobiology , and greater interaction with private sector and international partners . These developments necessitate an increased level of coordination among U nited States efforts to prevent harmful biological contamination to both Earth and other planetary bodies. Accordingly, t his National S trategy for Planetary Protection is issued to mitigate the potential for harmful biological contamination risks inherent in such missions. The Purpose of Planetary Protection The practice of planetary protection is grounded in the premise that life may e xist beyond the E Should life exist elsewhere in the universe, measures to avoid the introduction of external contaminants are necessary in order to protect life on Earth and ensure the validity of any scientific study related to such a di scovery . In essence, p lanetary protection refers to the polic ies and practice s related to two aspects of space exploration. First, planetary protection aims to protect future scientific investigations by limiting the forward biological contamination of other celestial bodies by terrestrial lifeforms . Second, planetary protection aims to protect preventing the backward biological contamination of Earth by returning spacecraft and their payloads . F or missions that may land on the surf ace of, or be in proximity to, another planetary body that may harbor life , planetary protection practices are implemented to avoid the harmful biological contamination of that planetary body. For example, if traces of bacteria are discovered on a mission to Mars , researchers would need to determine that the organism was not accidentally brought from Earth. Likewise, i f the mission profile includes a return journey to Earth, the prevention of harmful biological contamination of Earth becomes a key considera tion. Accordingly, t he sampling and return to Earth of material from other planetary bodies must utilize app ropriate methods of containment , such as the accidental introduction of an extra terrestrial pathogen . Planetary Protection Policy for the 21 st Century R ecent developments in planned mission profiles , including potential sample return from and crewed missions to Mars, raise new planetary protection considerations. In addition to the widening scope of potential missions, a broader set of stakeholders is now involved in space exploration, including the private sector. Existing U nited States policy aimed at avoiding backward contamination , which has not been updated si nce the Apollo era , does not appropriately address these recent developments . Given the rapid growth in private sector space capabilities and activities , it is very possible, that U nited States companies will be key participants in the search for life . Y et t he

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NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR PLANETARY PROTECTION 3 processes for approving and supervising private sector space missions are currently unclear with regard to planetary protection . In addition to new actors and mission types, planetary protection policy should account for scientific advances made in recent decades. These advances include new technologies and approaches for sterilizing instruments and spacecraft, improved techniques for the more accurate and precise detection of life , and an evolving understanding of terrestrial life through new discover ies . In order to better reflect these evolving mission profiles, new stakeholder activities, and scientific advances, a whole – of – government approach for U nited States planetary protection guidelines is necessary . To this end, NSpC established the Planetary Protection Interagency Working Group (PP – IWG) , co – chaired by NSpC staff and OSTP, in July 2020. The working group was organized into two subcommittees: one focusing on forward contamination, and the other focusing on backward contamination. Re cognizing the importance of safe and sustainable space exploration , t he 2020 National Space Policy calls for the development of planetary protection guidelines as follows : The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, in coordination with the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space A dministration ( NASA ) , the Secretary of Commerce, and the heads of other agencies, as appropriate, shall lead the development of national and international planetary protection guid elines, working with scient ific, commercial , and international partners, for the appropriate protection of planetary bodies and Earth from harmful biologica l contamination. The 2020 National Space Policy direction on planetary protection will be implemented through this National Strategy for Planetary Protection , and through the subsequent development of a national planetary protection action plan, coordinated jointly by OSTP and NSpC staff , to maintain U nited States leadership in space and meet applicable obligations. The PP – IWG developed this National Strategy for Planetary Protection through a coordinated interagency process . The strategy articulates principles and goals necessary to establish a national planetary protection policy that properly balance s U nited States interests in enabling the continued growth of commercial space exploration, preservation of priorities of the science community, and due consideration for the protection of life on Earth , in a manner compliant with applicable obligations. The strategy and the subsequent action plan will be updated as necessary and these processes will continue to incorporate input from academia, gove rnment, and the private sector, as appropriate.

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NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR PLANETARY PROTECTION 4 Principles and Goals T wo underlying principles should guide U nited States planetary protection policy : 1. The United States should continue to lead the development of internationally accepted guidelines for avoiding harmful biological contamination that properly balance the interests of scientific discovery, human explorat ion, and commercial activities in space; and 2. Avoiding harmful biological contamination of the Earth and other planetary bodies supports a safe, sustainable, and predictable Earth and space environment for the foreseeable future. Achieving the following si x g oals will assist in advancing U nited States space objectives in a manner consistent with the aforementioned foundational principles for planetary protection : 1. Develop supportive processes and sufficiently flexible and cost effective guidelines for planetary protection, adaptable to future developments in space exploration, such as new destinations, discoveries, technologies, capabilities, and actors. 2. Promote safe return protocols for Restricted Earth Return samples that enable exploration, scien ce, and commercial activity. 3. Update U nited States Government department and agency roles and responsibilities for preventing harmful forward and backward biological contamination , to resolve overlaps, gaps, and ambiguities. 4. Provide authorization and contin uing supervision, in accordance with applicable obligations, of U nited States private sector in space activities for the purpose of preventing harmful forward and backward biological contamination. 5. Demonstrate continued international leadership to prevent harmful forward and backward biological contamination , consistent with applicable obligations. 6. Encourage the development of innovative technologies and processes to lower costs and other barriers for preventing forward and backward harmful biological conta mination while maintaining data based standards.

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NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR PLANETARY PROTECTION 5 Objectives To meet the six stated planetary protection policy goals in a manner consistent with the two foundational principles , F ederal department s and agencies should pursue the following eight actionable objectives. These objectives are organized into three categories according to the aspect of planetary protection they address: forward contamination, backward contamination, and coordination with the private sector. Each objective includes a rec ommended near – term deliverable to guide continued progress and provides recommendations regarding key agency participants . Objective 1: Avoid harmful forward contamination by developing and implementing risk assessment and science – based guidelines and upd ating the interagency payload review process. Objective 1.1: Develop a Forward Contamination Risk Assessment Framework . T hrough the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) , OSTP should establish a forward contamination interagency group , with NASA as a key participant, to develop a risk assessment framework for harmful forward biological contamination to ensure that U nited States planetary protection policy is consistent with modern scientific and statistical practices , and assess the effectiveness of proposed procedures for limiting forward contamination. ( OSTP with NASA and other departments and agencies, as appropriate . ) D eliverable : Develop a forward contamination r isk a ssessment f ramework within one year . Objecti ve 1.2: Develop Flexible Science – b ased Forward Contamination Guidelines. Based on the risk assessment framework, the forward contamination group should develop and periodically review flexible forward contamination guidelines . These guidelines should be adaptable to , and reflective of , future developments in space exploration of new destinations, biological and other scientific discoveries, technologies and approaches to reduce the likelihood of biological contamination of celestial bodies, capabilities o f private sector participants, and international activities. ( OSTP with NASA and other departments and agencies, as appropriate . ) Deliverable : Develop g uidelines for forward contamination mitigation within nine months. Deliverable : Develop r isk – informed decision – making implementation strategies for human missions within one year. Objective 1.3: Assess the Interagency Aspects of the U.S. Government Payload Review Process. The forward contamination group should lead a review of the U nited Stat es Government payload review process and its importance for planetary protection and should develop clear guidelines on the responsibilities of non – governmental actors with respect to meeting the evolving U nited States planetary protection policy. ( OSTP, D OC, and DOT/FAA ; with DOD , FCC, NASA, ODNI , State, and USCG . ) Deliverable : Develop a r eport reviewing the U nited States Government payload review process within nine months.

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