NASA is taking steps to prevent Earth from becoming infected with deadly space viruses when it travels to Mars and other planets.
The U.S. agency dedicated to space science and technology takes precautions after a rover collects samples from the surface of Mars, which may pose a risk of being picked up by alien viruses.
It has been promised to be extremely careful with the samples to ensure that the risk of releasing an interstellar disease onto the planet is minimized.
Express.co.uk quotes a former NASA scientist because the listing of samples returned to Earth is “quarantined and treated as if they were Ebola virus until proven safe”.
Other aerospace companies are expected to take similar security measures in the coming years to protect the world’s public.
In 1967, the Outer Space Treaty required all companies exploring space to avoid “adverse environmental changes from the introduction of extraterrestrial matter.”
Astronauts have historically been subjected to intensive quarantine measures after space exploration.
In 1969, after their mission to the moon, the crew of Apollo 11 had to stay in a closed decontamination room for three weeks.
This was meant to prevent the time frame from spreading microorganisms that they could have caught on the moon in Houston.
In the years since the historic mission, security measures have been tightened.
The Committee on Space Research (or COSPAR), a global research group, has introduced non-binding protocols for different types of missions, arguing that every “non-terrestrial replicating entity” – which technically means a life form – is on landing.
NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection oversaw protocols and presented a set of rules intended to be used for the Artemis program.
It plans to send a human crew back to the moon by 2024.
The space agency said, “International space agencies that join NASA’s Artemis program will do so by implementing bilateral Artemis Accords agreements, which will describe a shared vision of principles, based on the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, to a safe and transparent environment that allows exploration, science and commercial activities for all of humanity. “