Exploration, Astrobiology, and Planetary Protection

Seminar Details
Friday, October 6, 2017 - 11:00am to 12:00pm


Dr. Catharine Conley, Ph.D.
NASA Planetary Protection Officer
Science Mission Directorate
NASA Headquarters
Washington, DC


Kahn Auditorium, BSRB

8th Annual CMB Retreat

The objectives that motivate many explorers are to learn about the world around them and make discoveries that can inform and benefit the communities they come from. Unfortunately, the history of European expansion on Earth demonstrates that many organisms carried by those explorers were not benign, when introduced by European sailors to other continents or brought back with returning sailors to Europe -- the consequences of some accidental introductions were dramatic, and in several cases can still be felt today. Learning from these experiences, and making responsible efforts to avoid them during exploration of the solar system, was identified as an important effort even before the launch of Sputnik in 1957, and motivates the application of planetary protection to spaceflight missions now and into the future.