Contamination Control and Planetary Protection
A need to develop technologies to implement Contamination Control and Planetary Protection requirements has emerged in recent years with increased interest in investigating bodies with the potential for life detection such as Europa, Enceladus, Mars, etc. and the potential for sample return from such bodies. Planetary Protection is concerned with both forward and backward contamination. Forward contamination is the transfer of viable organisms from Earth to another body. Backward contamination is the transfer of material posing a biological threat back to Earth's biosphere. NASA is seeking innovative technologies or applications of technologies to facilitate meeting portions of forward and backward contamination Planetary Protection requirements as well as analytical technologies that can ensure hardware and instrumentation can meet organic contamination requirements in an effort to preserve sample science integrity.
For contamination control efforts, analytical technologies and techniques for quantifying submicron particle and organic contamination for validating surface cleaning methods are needed. In particular, capabilities for measuring Total Organic Carbon (TOC) at <<40 ppb or <<20 ng/cm2
on a surface and detection of particles <0.2 microns in size are being sought. In addition, techniques for detection of one or more of the following molecules and detection level are being needed:
DNA (1 fmole)