From sma.nasa.gov:

Planetary Protection is the practice of protecting solar system bodies from contamination by Earth life and protecting Earth from possible life forms that may be returned from other solar system bodies. NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection promotes the responsible exploration of the solar system by implementing and developing efforts that protect the science, explored environments and Earth.

Because of the Outer Space Treaty, commercial organisations based in the USA have to follow NASA's Planetary Protection guidelines.

What about other authorities in other countries?

This year China and the United Arab Emirates both launched missions to mars, and ESA and Roscosmos also occasionally send probes to mars.

Do these agencies/organisations follow NASA Planetary Protection rules?
Do they have their own different set of rules to avoid contaminating other worlds?
Or do they fully ignore these precautions?


1 Answer 1


I'm quite sure the UAE mission fell under NASA rules, for a number of reasons. It was developed in the US, and I believe uses NASA's DSN for communication purposes.

From what I can tell, it is a matter of law to have planetary protection systems. They won't be exactly what NASA's are, but protecting other planets is something that we very much care about. According to this paper:

It is not clear which planetary protection measures were adopted by both countries in their missions, if any. But under international space and environmental law, India and China are required to have adopted planetary protection measures for their space exploration missions.


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