Backward contamination

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Reverse contamination (reverse / back-contamination) is the process if extraterrestrial life forms in the biosphere reach Earth. The counterpart is referred to as forward contamination .

There is a great risk of backward contamination, for example, with sample retrieval missions and with the implementation of the idea of asteroid mining . The consequences of backward contamination can include incalculable effects on humans as well as incalculable effects on all other life forms on earth. An alternative to sample retrieval missions is the investigation of samples off-earth. One example is the probe Philae the ESA in which the instrument PTOLEMY the chemical composition of the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko examined directly on the comet and only submitted the results to Earth.

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 mentioned in Article IX, the planetary contamination and formulated corresponding demands on the space operated Parties.

To prevent backward contamination, a great deal of effort is put into sterilization in space programs . The umbrella term for this is planetary protection .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Iain Gilmour, et al .: An introduction to astrobiology. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge 2004, ISBN 0-521-83736-7 , chapter: 3.6 Planetary protection, pp. 119-122.
  2. ^ Wright, IP; Barber, SJ; Morgan, GH; Morse, AD; Sheridan, S .; Andrews, DJ; Maynard, J .; Yau, D .; Evans, ST; Leese, MR; Zarnecki, JC; Kent, BJ; Waltham, NR; Whalley, MS; Heys, S .; Drummond, DL; Edeson, RL; Sawyer, EC; Turner, RF; Pillinger, CT: Ptolemy - an Instrument to Measure Stable Isotopic Ratios of Key Volatiles on a Cometary Nucleus . In: Space Science Reviews . 128, 2006, p. 363. doi : 10.1007 / s11214-006-9001-5 .
  3. DJ Andrews, SJ Barber, AD Morse, S. Sheridan, IP Wright, GH Morgan ,: Ptolemy: An Instrument aboard the Rosetta Lander Philae, to Unlock the Secrets of the Solar System . In: Lunar and Planetary Science . XXXVII, 2006, p. 1937.
  4. Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies - Article IX ( Memento of the original from May 16, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and still Not checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice., accessed May 11, 2012  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /