Inaugural International COSPAR Planetary Protection Week:
Set to Inspire Global Collaboration in London

Press Session - 22 April 2024 | 1:45 PM - 2:30 PM UTC | Online
Public Outreach Panel - 25 April 2024 | Hybrid
Inaugural International COSPAR Planetary Protection Week: <br/> Set to Inspire Global Collaboration in London

The Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) is proud to announce the Inaugural International COSPAR Planetary Protection Week (ICPPW), funded by the UK Space Agency (UKSA), organised by AstrobiologyOU at the Open University, and co-sponsored by Cornell University and ESA. The week is scheduled to take place from 22 to 25 April 2024, in London, UK. This landmark event will bring together leading experts, scientists, policymakers and space agencies from around the world to advance the critical objective of planetary protection.

With an increasing number of space missions targeting various celestial bodies, including Mars, Europa, and the Moon, the importance of maintaining the integrity of these environments while protecting our own biosphere has never been greater. The ICPPW will serve as a platform for promoting international collaboration and knowledge exchange on best practice in planetary protection.

The event will feature a range of sessions, meetings, as well as panel discussions, covering key topics such as the current and future landscape of planetary protection, implementation of planetary protection requirements, the limits of life, sample return, and examining specific categories for Mars and icy worlds. Space agencies, including CNSA, ESA, ISRO, JAXA, NASA, and UAE Space Agency, will be reporting on their exploration to different bodies in the Solar System, and during the week representatives will give a briefing on their planetary protection activity. Industry and the commercial sector will also be present and taking part. In-person and online participants will therefore have the opportunity to interact with major stakeholders in the exploration and planetary protection field, share insights, and forge the partnerships that are vital in developing sustainable space exploration missions.

The collaboration with UKSA and the other 11 space agencies represented in the COSPAR Panel on Planetary Protection underscores the interest of all stakeholders and the need for coordination among them to ensure consensus on the preservation of scientific exploration. By bringing together international stakeholders, the Inaugural ICPPW aims to spur advancements in planetary protection requirements.

As this issue is of growing interest to wider society, a public outreach panel is organised for the evening of 25 April at the Geological Society of London.
The Inaugural COSPAR International Planetary Protection Week will take place at the Royal Society in London, UK and online.

The press session for this event is on Monday 22nd April from 15.45 to 16.15/16.30 CET. This is open to journalists to ask questions to a panel of experts that will include:

Photo by NASA Hubble Space Telescope on Unsplash

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