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Crowdsourced Microbes Heading to Station

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Addressing the dilemma of "forward contamination"

The dilemma known as 'forward contamination' has been facing NASA since the first foray into space. Essentially, scienitists want to ensure that microbes from Earth don't jeopardize the integrity of samples collected by rovers in case there is a discovery of life on another planet.

"Now researchers have developed a new cleaning protocol for space hardware, such as the scoops of Mars rovers, which could be used on future "Search for Life" missions on other planets.

The decontamination protocol involves a cocktail of chemicals that were applied and tested on various sampling devices, including a glacial ice core drill and a rover scoop.

"We are trying to avoid a case of mistaken identity," says Professor Liane Benning, a biogeochemist from the University of Leeds and co-author of the paper."
 
 

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