Comment: NRC Report on preventing contamination of Europa falls short
Article first published online: 19 OCT 2006
©2001. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union
Volume 82, Issue 3, pages 26–28, 16 January 2001
How to Cite
2001), Comment: NRC Report on preventing contamination of Europa falls short, Eos Trans. AGU, 82(3), 26–28, doi:10.1029/01EO00017., and (
- Issue published online: 19 OCT 2006
- Article first published online: 19 OCT 2006
A recent National Research Council (NRC) report on preventing contamination of Europa is fundamentally flawed [Task Group on the Forward Contamination of Europa, 2000]. It inappropriately cites, as the basis for its quantitative recommendation, a decades-old COSPAR resolution. This resolution in turn was based on an arbitrary numerical example taken from a 1960s analysis based on now-obsolete premises regarding Mars exploration, not Europa.
While the NRC report contains useful information, it cannot be a valid basis for sound NASA policy for exploration of Europa. The issues involved need to be revisited with a comprehensive study. Note: COSPAR is the Committee on Space Programs and Research of the International Council of Scientific Unions.