17 April 2009. Worldwide experts from the Planetary Protection field discussed during two and a half days at ESPI the Planetary Protection for Outer Planet Satellites.
Around 30 scientists, agency officials from North America, Europe and Japan participated in this high-ranking event held at ESPI. The workshop was sponsored by the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) (link here) that was established by the International Council for Science in 1958. The workshop was lead by Prof. John D. Rummel the Chair of the COSPAR Panel on Planetary Protection and co-organised locally by ESPI Research Fellow Nicolas Peter. This event was the largest workshop hosted by ESPI for external partners in ESPI premises yet.
The overall exercise and the various presentations on the outer planet satellites, as well as the discussions in the splinter groups gave rise to interesting debates on the COSPAR Planetary Protection guidelines. A report on the workshop will be drafted in the upcoming weeks and will be submitted to COSPAR to potentially update its overall Planetary Protection policy. The co-editors of the report will be Pascale Ehrenfreund, Research Professor at the Space Policy Institute from the George Washington University, and Nicolas Peter from ESPI. The results of the workshop are also expected to be published in Advances in Space Research (ASR).
From left: John D. Rummel, Pascale Ehrenfreund, Nicolas Peter and Kai-Uwe Schrogl