Senior Biology Lecturer protects the icy moons of the outer solar system through collaborative project

Protecting the Solar System

The EU’s Planetary Protection of the Outer Solar System consortium have collaborated with Edge Hill’s Dr André Antunes to identify current knowledge gaps, define future research priorities, revise current policies in international regulations, and support the implementation of standards associated with planetary protection for outer moons of the solar system.

The detection of oceans on several icy moons in the outer solar system has led to a significant drive for further exploration, with an increased chance of discovering extra-terrestrial life. Planetary protection measures are vital to ensure that subsequent space missions do not cause cross-contamination of planets, which could have catastrophic effects on the biosphere. André’s expertise continues to inform international regulation and policy in the outer space exploration industry.

“Space exploration missions are international endeavors and planetary protection is by nature an issue of global relevance. Impact of this on-going project is therefore expected to be particularly wide and significant and will affect current international policies and legislation, condition research and funding priorities in the field, and affect industrial design and implementation of future space missions.”

Dr André Antunes, Senior Lecturer in Microbial Genetics