ICAMSR - International Committee Against Mars Sample Return

News stories relating to the ICAMSR, Dr Gilbert V. Levin, and planetary protection issues:

  • June 23, 2022 from Scientific American "Controversy Grows Over whether Mars Samples Endanger Earth":
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  • June 21, 2022 from SCMP "China's Mars mission on track to lead the world in retrieving Martian rocks by 2031, says program veteran ":
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  • June 20, 2022 from Space News "China aims to bring Mars samples to Earth 2 years before NASA, ESA mission":
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  • June 2022 from Aerospace America "Calls grow for a safer Mars Sample Return":
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  • May 12, 2022 from Space.com "Mars sample return: Could Red Planet life contaminate Earth?":
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  • November 4, 2021 from Space News "China is planning a complex Mars sample return mission":
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  • October 9, 2021 from SciTechDaily "Modernizing Planetary Protection: Less Restrictive "Bioburden" Rules Would Make Mars Missions Simpler":
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  • September 6, 2021 from SciTechDaily "NASA's Perseverance Rover Collects First Mars Rock Sample - "Truly a Historic Moment"":
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  • May 10, 2021 from BBC.com "Could humans have contaminated Mars with life":
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  • April 28, 2021 from NewScientist "Why bringing Martian rocks back to Earth is a bad idea":
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  • December 2020 from The White House "National Strategy for Planetary Protection":
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  • Review board green lights NASA for Mars Sample Return project.
    November 11, 2020 from CNET "NASA gets go-ahead to bring Mars rocks back to Earth":
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  • May 9, 2020 from New York Post "Martian rock samples might bring alien viruses to earth, expert warns":
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  • May 8, 2020 from Futurism "Stanford Scientist Warns of Risk From Alien Pathogens":
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  • May 7, 2020 from Standford News "Stanford's Scott Hubbard contributed to new 'planetary quarantine' report reviewing risks of alien contamination":
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  • April 26, 2018 from ESA "ESA and NASA to investigate bringing martian soil to Earth":
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  • April 2018 from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. "iMARS (Phase 2): A Draft Mission Architecture and Science Management Plan for the Return of Samples from Mars":
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  • August 20, 2017 from ICAMSR "Veteran Astrobiologists Criticize Article Calling for Relief of Anti-Contamination Requirements for the Return Mars Sample Mission":
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  • Dr. Gilbert Levin interviewed on The Space Show. Subjects include his new scientific paper in the Astrobiology, the search for life on Mars, the planned human mission to Mars and Mars Sample Return.
    November 22, 2016 from The Space Show "The Space Show interview with Dr. Gilbert Levin":
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  • October 21, 2016 from Phys.org "Did 40-year-old Viking experiment discover life on Mars?":
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  • July 20, 2016 from Discover Magazine "Celebrating Viking: Gilbert Levin Recalls the Search for Life on Mars":
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  • July 5, 2016 from MassLive.com "Patrick Rowan's Skywatch: 40 years after Viking landing questions remain about life on Mars":
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  • February 4, 2016 from Ars Technica "Space experts warn Congress that NASA's "Journey to Mars" is illusory":
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  • This recent study demonstrates for the first time that individuals release their own personalized microbial cloud.
    September 22, 2015 from PeerJ "Humans differ in their personal microbial cloud":
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  • Oct 25, 2012 from Fox News "Manned Mars missions could threaten Red Planet life":
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  • October 23, 2012 from Russia Beyond The Headlines "Scientists support stricter planetary quarantine":
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  • August 6, 2012 from Phys.Org "Rock varnish may hold clues to life on Mars":
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  • July 31, 2012 from The University Of Buckingham "Manganese-rich rock varnish may point to life on Mars":
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  • NASA's 2013 budget includes deep cuts to its planetary science mission, particularly its efforts to send spacecraft to Mars. Instead, the space agency will focus on human space flight and infrared astronomy.
    February 14, 2012 from The Christian Science Monitor "Is NASA giving up on Mars?":
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  • The American space agency looks set to pull the plug on its joint missions to Mars with the European Space Agency. Nasa has told Esa it is now highly unlikely it will be able to contribute to the endeavors, which envision an orbiting satellite and a big roving robot being sent to the Red Planet.
    February 6, 2012 from The BBC "ExoMars co-operation between Nasa and Esa near collapse":
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  • Orbital tracking reports suggest Russia's failed Mars probe, Phobos-Grunt, fell back to Earth on Sunday, to be destroyed over the Pacific.
    January 15, 2012 from The BBC "Phobos-Grunt: Failed probe 'falls over Pacific'":
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  • During the run up to the launch of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity on Nov. 26, a step in the "planetary protection" procedure wasn't adhered to. The procedure's key purpose is to make sure organic material from Earth doesn't get transferred accidentally to another planet -- in this case, Mars.
    December 1, 2011 from Discovery.com "Could Mars Rover Curiosity Infect Mars?":
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  • NASA has repeatedly stated that its new mission to Mars, Curiosity, carries no life detector. Yet, Gilbert V. Levin, Experimenter on NASA's 1976 Viking Mission, disagrees. He says instruments aboard Curiosity can confirm his published claim that his Labeled Release (LR) experiment detected living microorganisms on Mars.
    November 28, 2011 from PR Newswire "Veteran Mars Researcher Says Curiosity Spacecraft Can Confirm Viking Detected Life":
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  • December 28, 2010 from New Scientist"Don't send bugs to Mars":
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  • Thirty-four years after NASA's Viking missions to Mars sent back results interpreted to mean there was no organic material - and consequently no life - on the planet, new research has concluded that organic material was found after all.
    September 3, 2010 from The Washington Post "Not 'life,' but maybe 'organics' on Mars":
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  • September 3, 2010 from The New York Times "Accepted Notion of Mars as Lifeless Is Challenged":
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  • September 14, 2009 from BBC News "Crunch time for Russia Mars probe":
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  • September 25, 2009 from Space.Com "Russia Delays Phobos-Grunt Mars Mission Until 2011":
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  • February 6, 2009 from Science "Biologically Reversible Exploration":
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  • April 23, 2008 from Brown University "Glaciers Reveal Martian Climate Has Been Recently Active (Press Release)":
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  • from NewScientist "Russia planning double assault on Mars":
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  • July 2, 2008 from Physorg.com "Mars Sample Return: The next step in exploring the Red Planet":
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  • "These observations give the strongest evidence to date that water still flows occasionally on the surface of Mars," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program, Washington.
    December 6, 2006 from Malin Space Science Systems "Present-Day Gully Activity on Mars":
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  • Scientist fears samples of soil or rock might harbor hostile microbes.
    December 3, 2004 from Chron.com "Mars Samples Could Harbor Hostile Microbes":
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  • June 23, 2005 from CNN.com "NASA urged to test for life on Mars":
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  • September 16, 2004 from Space.Com "How Genesis Crash Impacts Mars Sample Return":
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  • Genesis sample return mission crash news. Will a Mars Sample Return capsule end up the same way?
    September 13, 2004 from News @ Nature.Com "Genesis wreck promises data":
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  • September 10, 2004 from BBC News "Genesis 'faulty battery' probed":
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  • September 10, 2004 from Salt Lake Tribune "Genesis capsule now a $264M muddy mess":
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  • November 17, 2003 from SpaceDaily.Com "The Calm Before The Storm: An Interview With Dr. Gilbert Levin":
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  • November 14, 2003 from SpaceDaily.Com "Damaged Japanese Spacecraft Might Contaminate Mars If It Hits Dec. 14":
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  • September 4, 2003 from San Francisco Chronicle (SFGate.com)"Space theorist posits unusual life on Mars '2nd genesis' on Red Planet":
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  • Surface deposits within the northern lowlands support the oceans hypothesis
    July 16, 2003 from PSRD News "Ancient Floodwaters and Seas on Mars":
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  • In September of 2000 Dr. Serge Pershin found evidecne for organic pigments on Mars, now a NASA Ames team says they may have found chlorophyll on the red planet.
    April 5, 2002 from BBC News "Life on Mars hopes raised":
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  • February 16, 2002 from BBC News "The dangers of bio-prospecting":
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  • 'Are there medical implications of geomicrobiology?' does this apply to Mars?
    February 15, 2002 from EurekaAlert "The new biology of rocks: 'Are there medical implications of geomicrobiology?'":
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  • Did cosmic dust laden with extraterrestrial pathogenic spores cause the extinction of the dinosaurs?
    May 8, 1998 from BBC News "Space dust 'did for dinosaurs'":
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  • September 4, 2001 from CNN.com "For Mars pro-life camp, an unlikely ally":
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  • July 31, 2001 from Space Daily "Water Shaped Martian Landscape In Recent Times":
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  • July 30, 2001 from UniSci "First Evidence Of Life Coming From Space Reported":
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  • Levin and Straat vindicated.
    July 27, 2001 from EurekaAlert "USC neuroscientist finds signature of life on Mars in decades-old data":
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  • July 20, 2001 from CNN.Com "Debate on Mars life rages long after Viking":
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  • Spring/Summer 2001 from Georgia Tech Research News (Research Horizons Magazine)
    "Scientists Find Evidence of Highly Oxidizing Environment Over the South Pole":
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  • July 2, 2001 from CNN.Com "Researcher: Mars Rock Varnish Hints Of Life":
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  • Here is an interesting article showing that transfer of life between planets is unlikely in ejecta over 100,000 years old.
    June 12, 2001 from Space Daily "Life's Rocky Road Between Worlds":
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  • June 11, 2001 from Space Daily "Man: The Inherent Polluter":
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  • June 1, 2001 from CNN.Com "Tito: Manned Missions Do Little For Science":
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  • In response to the latest report on how to safely handle Mars samples, questions about the ability to make a safe retriveal container are raised in an opinion piece for SpaceDaily readers by Barry DiGregorio.
    May 31, 2001 from Space Daily "The Quarantine And Certification Of Martian Samples":
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  • May 29, 2001 from CNN.Com "Quarantine Urged For Mars Sample Return":
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  • May 10, 2001 from Space Daily "Italian Researchers Find Traces Of Life In Meteorites":
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  • April 17, 2001 from Spaceflight Now "Contracts awarded for initial Mars sample return studies":
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  • April 5, 2001 from University of California "Hitchhiking molecules could have survived fiery comet collisions with Earth, UC Berkeley experiment shows":
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  • February 8, 2001 from UniSci "Bacterium Can Alter Evolution Of Another Species":
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  • from Lunar and Planetary Science XXXII (2001) "Organic Matter In SNC Meteorites: Is It Time To Re-Evaluate The Viking Biology Experimental Data?":
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  • January 15, 2001 from Space Daily "Stardust Makes Earth Flyby":
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  • Professor Richard Hoover, head of NASA's astrobiology unit at the Marshall Space Flight Center told the Herald Sun that he has strong evidence of fossilized bacterial cells in a 1969 Martian meteorite.
    December 20, 2000 from Cosmic Ancestry "Fossils Found in Victorian Meteor":
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  • December 3, 2000 from Rense.Com "Dried-up Sea Beds Found on Mars":
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  • Has the first organism from space been found?
    November 24, 2000 from CNN "Scientists Discover Possible Microbe From Space":
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  • November 8, 2000 from Science Daily "NASA Outlines Mars Exploration Program For Next Two Decades":
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  • November 7, 2000 from CNN "Mars sample return plan carries microbial risk, group warns":
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  • Bruce Moomaw's excellent 4 part report on the future of NASA's Mars Exploration program. Moomaw reports that NASA's Mars Sample Return plans from last year:
    "In particular, the previous plan included NO firmly assigned funding for the handling, biological quarantine, curation or scientific analysis of the first returned Martian surface samples, or for construction of biohazard labs to contain them!"

    November 6, 2000 from Space Daily "Mars In The Early 21st Century":
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  • Salts of Mars may hold dormant bacteria spores for millions of years.
    November 2, 2000 from BBC News "University Of Missouri Research Could Pave Way For Discovery Of Life On Mars":
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  • Do the dangers of importing foreign terrestiral microbes in ship ballast tanks illustrate possible hazards of planetary sample return missions with microorganisms as their cargo?
    November 1, 2000 from BBC News "Alien invaders hitch a ride on ships":
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  • October 26, 2000 from BBC News "Heavy traffic heads for Mars":
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  • October 18, 2000 from BBC News "Alive...after 250 million years":
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  • September 5, 2000 from Space Daily "Building The Infrastructure For Martian Exploration":
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  • August 1, 2000 from Space Daily "New Information Supports Claim Viking Discovered Life in 1976":
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  • July 16, 2000 from Space Daily "The Need For Mars Mission Exobiologists":
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  • July 6, 2000 from Space Daily "Viking Data May Hide New Evidence For Life":
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  • June 21, 2000 from BBC News "Water ' found on Mars ' ":
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  • March 17, 2000 from BBC News "Nasa pulls back from Mars":
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  • March 7, 2000 from PNAS Online "The missing organic molecules on Mars":
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  • February 16, 2000 from Space Daily "Was Polar Lander Doomed By Fatal Design Flaw":
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  • January 22, 2000 from Space Daily "The Dilemma Of Influenza":
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  • ICAMSR Executive Director Barry E. DiGregorio responds to Bruce Moomaw's three part series about Mars Sample Return.
    December 8,1999 From Space News Online "Mars: Is Biohazard Level 4 Enough?":
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  • ICAMSR founder Barry E. DiGregorio Op Ed for Spacer.Com on the possible dangers of returning Martian microbes to the Earth.
    October 5,1999 From Space Daily "Can Martian Microbes Endanger The Earth?":
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  • If microbes can survive Space and other harsh environments, the potential for cross contamination becomes a greater possibility. We must be very cautious.
    October 4,1999 From the Washington Post "Hardy Microbes Appear Able to Survive in Space":
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  • Is the snow an available water source for microbial life?
    March 23, 1999 From Space Daily "A Blanket Of Frost Persists".
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  • March 8, 1999 - From Space News page 15 "Protecting Earth" NASA Planetary protection Officer Dr. John D. Rummel's comments on ICAMSR founder Barry DiGregorio's guest Op Ed for the February 22 issue of Space News "Rethinking Mars Sample Return".

  • February 22, 1999 - From Space News page 21 "Rethinking Mars Sample Return" by Barry E. DiGregorio. Are there alternative options for Mars Sample Return that would prove less dangerous to the environment of Earth? Yes, there are.


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    Last updated August 12, 2022.
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