The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) of the United States has released a new report that outlines suggested criteria for robotic missions to Mars. The report identifies certain locations where less restrictive ‘bioburden’ requirements could be implemented for future missions. Such restrictions are in place for planetary protection reasons: to prevent the unintentional transport of microorganisms from Earth to Mars.

The study was sponsored by NASA and undertaken by the NASEM Committee on Planetary Protection. An article discussing the study’s results is available from the NASEM website by clicking here.

The report, Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions (2021) is available from the National Academies at:

Life at Low Pressure: Planetary Protection and the Habitability of Mars
Putting the Ethics into Planetary Protection