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PPOSS Report Summary

Project ID: 687373
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PPOSS (Planetary Protection of Outer Solar System)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The PPOSS project (Planetary Protection of Outer Solar System bodies) concept has been developed and has for man objective to provide an international forum to consider and approach the specificities of Planetary Protection (biological and organic contamination) for outer Solar system bodies, including small Solar system bodies. This is done in the general context of Planetary Protection regulation and the project intends to provide recommendations to COSPAR panel on planetary protection.

While significant effort has been, and is being provided to address planetary protection in the context of the exploration of inner Solar System bodies, and in particular Mars, PPOSS allows to tackle the scientific, technological and policy-making specificities of Planetary Protection of outer solar system bodies, in particular icy bodies. Project findings will be considered in the general context of the international planetary protection landscape. Through workshops, seminars, consultation as well as desk based research and review of the state of the art, the project partners intend to complete the six detailed objectives presented below:

- Describe the state of the art and good practice for implementing planetary protection requirements, identify good practices and lessons to be learnt
Describe the state of the art and good practices to implement planetary protection requirements in the form of a handbook, including a historical perspective, up-to-date implementation measures, identification of problems and how to solve them, lessons learnt, and aspects related to international cooperation (i.e. joint missions).

- Identify scientific challenges, scientific requirements and knowledge gaps related to planetary protection of outer solar system bodies, including small solar system bodies.
In the context of the current and foreseen/foreseeable programmatic landscape, identify the many challenges, critical expertise as well as knowledge gaps raised by planetary protection related to i) biological contamination of outer solar system bodies, including small solar system bodies and ii) organic contamination of outer solar system bodies, including small solar system bodies. Propose planetary protection requirements based on scientific grounds, suggest activities to overcome the main hurdles and to fill-in knowledge gaps.

- Develop an European engineering roadmap
Based on the scientific requirements and recommendations, identify critical technologies required to best address planetary protection of outer solar system bodies, including small solar system bodies, define their availability and readiness level in Europe, suggest a roadmap covering the next 15-20 years.

- Review of the international outer solar system planetary protection regulation structure, process and categorisation, suggest improvements
In the context of the findings and outcome from the project, as well as targeted consultation with stakeholder, review the planetary protection regulation process and the current planetary protection guidelines and categories related to of outer solar system bodies, including small solar system bodies, and suggest improvements to COSPAR.

- Dissemination of knowledge
Facilitate the dissemination of knowledge related to planetary protection as well as of the outcome of the project to a wider international audience through seminars. Develop and maintain the project website and a repository for planetary protection-related documentation.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Over its first twelve months of activities, the PPOSS team has been very active in drafting the International Planetary Protection Handbook. This document will provide a complete and comprehensive set of guidelines on how to properly approach planetary protection issues in the context of space (exploration) mission. Besides providing guidance and guidelines, the PPOSS handbook will also explain the rational for planetary protection and its policy context.
To produce its handbook, the PPOSS project gathered and synthesised information and publications, performed interviews with engineers and scientists and convened two international workshops gathering some of the more competent planetary protection experts and practitioners.
The PPOSS handbook will be openly available in paper and electronic format. Furthermore, it will used as a basis for the project's seminar aimed at scientists, agency representatives and technical workforce involve in the design and implementation of space missions.

Preparatory work to the scientific foresight was also performed with the production of a report reviewing the current knowledge and strategic advise relevant to planetary protection of outer Solar System as well as the scientific goals addressed by upcoming and foreseeable missions to the outer Solar System. This report is used as an input to the definition of the PPOSS research white book.

The PPOSS office has also been very active in securing international interest and links with the project. In particular, it developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalising the links of the project with its international partners, one such MoU has been signed with China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and others are in development, in particular with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Relations with international partners and observers have been strong and fruitful, the project events gathered experts from CAST and JAXA as well as representatives from the office of the US National Academy of Sciences Space Studies Board who also sponsored the participation of US experts.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The PPOSS handbook will be a very useful tool to disseminate information on the rational and practicalities of Planetary Protection as well as to help reaching a common understanding of the processes and policy framework. In a context where an increasing number of actors (new countries, but also increased involvement of the industry) is taking stake in space exploration and exploitation of space resources, the PPOSS handbook and dissemination of knowledge effort is very relevant and timely.
Through its international dimension, PPOSS is also building bridges and contributing to the dialogue between communities on the topics of outer Solar System planetary protection.

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