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11,601 Swabs, 2,543 Wipes: How NASA Spent the Last 7 Years Protecting Mars from Humans

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Here on Earth, as we continue to obsess over cleanliness and eradicating microscopic viruses, perhaps we should be turning to NASA for advice.

Despite being in the midst of a global pandemic, the space agency launched the $2.4 billion Mars Perseverance Rover to the Red Planet on July 30, 2020. Later this week, the rover finally lands on Mars. On the Red Planet, the rover will look for microscopic life and collect rock and soil samples that will one day (eventually) be sent back to Earth for future study.

What the rover won’t be doing is introducing Earth’s microscope life to Mars.

Cleaning practices, sanitary procedures, and sterilization methods instituted by NASA decades ago all but guarantee the rover will be clean of nearly everything that could potentially compromise the mission to our planetary neighbor.

“Viruses, e. coli, all the things we find on our skin, they are all puny wimps,” says Moogega Stricker, NASA Planetary Protection Engineer at Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Everything they’ve done since the mission began seven years ago, she says, has made the spacecraft resilient against any and all contamination.

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mars 2020 perseverance roverNASA/JPL-Caltech

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/a33463835/mars-rover-clean/

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