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Res Microbiol. 2006 Jan-Feb;157(1):19-24. Epub 2005 Dec 19.

The microbiology of spacecraft hardware: lessons learned from the planetary protection activities on the Beagle 2 spacecraft.

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  • 1Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK.


We consider the aseptic assembly of the Beagle 2 Mars probe and how the requirements of COSPAR planetary protection category IVa were achieved. Several areas for future investigation became apparent. An ESA mission is outlined in which a microbial bioburden is recovered after Earth orbit to assess viability following re-entry through the atmosphere.

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