How to keep space safe: scientists propose a program to protect Earth and other space objects

In recent years, space exploration has become increasingly active and intensive. However, along with progress comes new threats. The accelerated exploration of celestial bodies and the delivery of samples to Earth can lead to negative consequences for other worlds and our biosphere. The Committee on Space Research and Planetary Protection (COSPAR) has confronted this problem by developing a program to protect Earth and other space objects.

In an article published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences, COSPAR scientists detailed their protection program and proposed implementing an international policy to prevent negative impacts. They stressed the importance of adhering to the proposed safety policies by all actors involved in space exploration, including national space agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector.

Under the program, COSPAR identified five categories of planetary protection that depend on the nature of space missions. They include orbital launches and orbiting planets and moons, as well as missions involving landings on these bodies and the delivery of samples to Earth. Each category determines the level of contamination and biosafety controls.

One example of the negative consequences that can arise from improper space exploration is the introduction of terrestrial bacteria to Mars. This could seriously hamper the search for traces of life on the planet. A similar situation could occur with missions to study Jupiter’s icy moons, where even small organic contamination with materials from Earth would jeopardize any further search for life.

On the other hand, if scientists manage to find samples of extinct or living alien organisms, their delivery to Earth would require special safety measures. After all, such a situation poses a risk to all mankind.

The main goal of the COSPAR program is to prevent the contamination of other worlds with terrestrial materials and to protect our planet’s biosphere from alien organisms. Scientists call for compliance with the proposed safety policies and the implementation of international policies to ensure the safety of space missions.

It is important to note that in early 2023, astronomers recorded eight signals that may belong to extraterrestrial civilizations. To do this, scientists had to spend 480 hours observing 830 star systems using powerful radio telescopes [source:].

In conclusion, space exploration represents a tremendous opportunity for humanity, but it is necessary to keep in mind its safety and the preservation of other worlds from our interference. COSPAR’s program to protect Earth and other space objects is an important step in this direction. It offers specific control and security measures that must be respected by all involved in space exploration.

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