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NASA Awards SETI Institute Planetary Protection Support Contract

July 10, 2020                           (nasa.gov)

• Upcoming NASA science missions such as the Mars 2020 and Europa Clipper missions, and NASA’s Mars Sample Return mission, NASA’s Artemis program’s Gateway lunar orbital outpost, Human Lander System, and Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, all will need to be in compliance with planetary protection standards. ‘Planetary Protection’s’ role is to protect both Earth and mission destinations from biological contamination.

• NASA has awarded the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, a $4.7 million ‘indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity’ contract for five years to head NASA’s Planetary Protection Program beginning July 1st. To ensure compliance with planetary protection standards, SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). The SETI Institute will work with NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection to provide technical reviews and recommendations, validate biological cleanliness on flight projects, provide training for NASA and its partners, develop guidelines for implementation of NASA requirements, and disseminate information to stakeholders and the public.

• “The depth of mission experience and breadth of knowledge on the SETI Institute team will help NASA meet the technical challenges of assuring forward and backward planetary protection on the anticipated path of human exploration from the Moon to Mars,” said Lisa Pratt, NASA’s planetary protection officer at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

• “[P]lanetary protection [has become] an increasingly important component of mission planning and execution,” said Bill Diamond, president and chief executive officer of the SETI Institute. “We are proud to be NASA’s partner for this mission-critical function, protecting Earth from backward contamination, and helping ensure that the life we may find on other worlds, didn’t come from our own.”

• NASA and the SETI Institute have worked together on planetary protection for more than a decade and have developed a strong relationship and core competency in this area. SETI Institute scientists have extensive experience in understanding microbial life and how it can affect missions, even in the extreme conditions of spaceflight and extraterrestrial environments.

[Editor’s Note]   “SETI Institute scientists have extensive experience in understanding microbial life and how it can affect missions”? Really? Isn’t SETI the deep state pseudo-agency puppet that has been monitoring radio waves for signs of extraterrestrial signals since Frank Drake in 1960? Is this the same SETI who had to turn to private financing because of the ridicule they were taking from Congress? Now we learn that these astronomers who peer through telescopes all day, also have a knack for detecting microbial contamination on NASA spacecraft traveling to and from the Moon and Mars. The only thing that SETI has ever been tasked to do is to pretend to search for intelligent ETs and never find any, when everyone knows that they’re all around us and have been for the past century. Now, another deep state pseudo-agency puppet, NASA, is giving SETI the responsibility of preventing REAL microbial contamination in REAL space? Is this a joke? Or is it just a money transfer between two deep state toadies for some other agenda?

 

        SETI’s Bill Diamond

NASA has awarded the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, a contract to support all phases of current and future planetary protection missions to ensure compliance with planetary protection standards.

The SETI Institute will work with NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection (OPP) to provide technical reviews and recommendations, validate biological cleanliness on flight projects, provide training for NASA and its partners, as well as develop guidelines for implementation of NASA requirements, and disseminate information to stakeholders and the public. The role of OPP is to promote responsible exploration of the solar system by protecting both Earth and mission destinations from biological contamination.

        NASA’s Lisa Pratt

“The depth of mission experience and breadth of knowledge on the SETI Institute team will help NASA meet the technical challenges of assuring forward and backward planetary protection on the anticipated path of human exploration from the Moon to Mars,” said Lisa Pratt, NASA’s planetary protection officer at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Planetary protection preserves environments, as well as the science, ensuring verifiable scientific exploration for extraterrestrial life. Some of the upcoming NASA science missions that will be supported by this contract include the Mars 2020 and Europa Clipper missions, and preparations for NASA’s Mars Sample Return mission. In addition, future human spaceflight exploration under NASA’s Artemis program, such as the Gateway lunar orbital outpost, the Human Lander System, and Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, will be supported under this contract, as part of America’s Moon to Mars exploration approach.

The contract is a fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a maximum award value of $4.7 million over a five-year period that began July 1.

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NASA Says Milky Way Could Have ‘Ocean Worlds’ All Over

Article by Chris Ciaccia                          June 22, 2020                              (nypost.com)

• NASA researchers have published a study in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific saying that more than a quarter of the 53 exoplanets outside our solar system may be “ocean worlds” having significant amounts of water.

• “Plumes of water erupt from Europa and Enceladus, so we can tell that these bodies have subsurface oceans beneath their ice shells and they have energy that drives the plumes, which are two requirements for life as we know it,” said the study’s lead author Lynnae Quick, a NASA planetary scientist. “So if we’re thinking about these places as being possibly habitable, maybe bigger versions of them in other planetary systems are habitable too.” As such, Europa and Enceladus, moons that orbit Jupiter and Saturn, respectively, are icy celestial bodies that could harbor extraterrestrial life.

• Quick and the other researchers looked at exoplanets similar in size to Earth, along with exoplanets’ density, orbit, temperature, mass and distance from their star to reach their conclusions. These “ocean worlds” could release more energy than even Enceladus and Europa.

• Although studies tend to focus on exoplanets like ours that have a global biosphere so abundant it’s changing the chemistry of the whole atmosphere, NASA Goddard astrophysicist and study co-author Aki Roberge says, “(Within our) solar system, icy moons with oceans, which are far from the heat of the Sun, still have shown that they have the features we think are required for life.”

• Future missions searching for exterritorial life within our solar system include the Europa Clipper mission set to launch as soon as 2023, which will explore the surface of Europa. “If we find chemical signatures of life, we can try to look for similar signs at interstellar distances,” Quick added.

• As of June 2020. More then 4,000 exoplanets have been identified, approximately 50 of which were believed to be potentially habitable. A study published earlier this month suggested that there could be 36 alien civilizations in the Milky Way (see ExoArticle here). Another study this month suggested there could be as many as 6 billion “Earth-like” planets in the galaxy (see ExoArticle here).

 

                Aki Roberge

A newly published study from NASA researchers suggests that there may be planets in the Milky Way galaxy other than Earth that have an ocean.

The research, published in Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, notes more than a quarter of the 53 exoplanets — planets outside the Solar System — that were studied could potentially be “ocean worlds,” planets that have significant amounts of water.

                          Lynnae Quick

“Plumes of water erupt from Europa and Enceladus, so we can tell that these bodies have subsurface oceans beneath their ice shells and they have energy that drives the plumes, which are two requirements for life as we know it,” Lynnae Quick, NASA planetary scientist and the study’s lead author, said in a statement. “So if we’re thinking about these places as being possibly habitable, maybe bigger versions of them in other planetary systems are habitable too.”

Europa and Enceladus, moons that orbit Jupiter and Saturn, respectively, are icy celestial bodies that could potentially be home to extraterrestrial life.
Quick, who specializes in volcanism and ocean worlds and the other researchers looked at exoplanets similar in size to Earth, including a group of seven in the TRAPPIST-1 system, 39 light-years from Earth. A light-year, which represents distance in space, is the equivalent of about 6 trillion miles.
In addition to size, they looked at density, orbit, temperature, mass and how far the planets are from their star to come up with their conclusions.

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