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When a terrestrial satellite nears the end of its useful life, it is often de-orbited to burn up in the atmosphere or sent up into a graveyard orbit. This is done to prevent the satellite from being a hazard to other spacecraft.

Is there such a policy (NASA or other agencies) for satellites in orbit around Mars?

Related:

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Not for hazard reasons, but possibly for planetary protection reasons. Orbiters cleaned to Class III have an orbital lifetime requirement, which may require an orbit raising near its end-of-life.

If Mars orbiters had a requirement to de-orbit for hazard reasons, then they would all also need to be cleaned as if they were landers, to the IVa level. Or maybe a little better since they would be guaranteed to crash.

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I am not aware of any such policy; the primary reason for having one on earth satellites is to avoid accumulation of 'orbital space junk' that can endanger astronaut/cosmonaut safety and pose an unnecessary hazard to operation and other experiments or investments that are in orbit or will go into orbit in the future. Satellites sent to other solar bodies have all been scientific in nature so far, and there are so few of them that there is negligible risk of collision or interference.
So AFAIK no; that may change once we have seasonal or permanent habitats on or around the Moon or Mars, for starters.

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  • $\begingroup$ fair enough; edited. $\endgroup$ – Hunting.Targ Dec 3 '18 at 4:56
  • $\begingroup$ True, and thank you for the reminder; the non-existence of something is rather difficult to verify, especially an abstract policy rather than a program or a piece of hardware across various agencies that do not communicate well with each other, when they do at all. $\endgroup$ – Hunting.Targ Dec 3 '18 at 4:57
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    $\begingroup$ Edit looks great, thanks! Yes non-existence proofs are hard, but space agencies leave a fairly extensive paper trail on the internet, and its possible that existing material on planetary safety address this with language about fragments that may survive reentry. I'd say a good way would be to look at the planetary-protection tag here (13 questions) or just search for "planetary protection" on this site for starters.(49 results) $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 3 '18 at 5:02
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    $\begingroup$ I thought of that - even though guidelines are not the same as standing policy, I think I will take your recommendation. THX again. $\endgroup$ – Hunting.Targ Dec 3 '18 at 5:07
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    $\begingroup$ You can also check links found in those posts and search for language that addresses things that burn up, and may not burn up, in Mars' atmosphere. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 3 '18 at 5:07

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