Migrating Microbes and Planetary Protection

Trends Microbiol. 2009 Sep;17(9):389-92. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2009.07.001. Epub 2009 Aug 31.


Since the dawn of the space age, humans have wrestled with concerns about planetary cross-contamination. Spacecraft launched from Earth can transport hitchhiker microbes to new worlds on both robotic and crewed vehicles. As plans proceed for future life detection and human exploration missions, planetary protection considerations are again uppermost on the agendas of mission planners, and microbiologists have an important role to play.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria*
  • Containment of Biohazards*
  • Exobiology
  • Extraterrestrial Environment*
  • Humans
  • Planets*
  • Space Flight / standards*