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STScI Astrobiology Lecture Series

Astrobiology and Planetary Protection

Presented by: Catharine Conley  (Planetary Protection officer, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters)
Category: Science Symposium   Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes   Broadcast date: March 03, 2017
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The fundamental goals of Astrobiology are focused on understanding the origin, distribution, and future of life in the universe. Currently, the unique example of 'life' available to us is from Earth -- 'life as we know it'. It was recognized, before the launch of Sputnik, that overprinting with contaminants from Earth could prevent the detection of extraterrestrial life -- and also that the inadvertent release of extraterrestrial organisms into the Earth's environment could have adverse consequences. The precautions taken to prevent these possibilities are called Planetary Protection.