CSUN Biology and NASA offer training in planetary protection

One rarely-mentioned aspect of NASA’s mission to explore the Solar System is planetary protection, the protocols the space agency uses to protect other worlds from alien invasion … by Earth life. Probes and spacecraft must be carefully handled to prevent them carrying microbes from our world to other heavenly bodies, because the presence of terrestrial life forms would interfere with tests for alien life. CSUN undergraduate science majors have a unique opportunity to learn how NASA scientists protect against this risk, in a two day workshop this April.

Associate Professor of Biology Rachel Mackelprang is working with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to offer the workshop Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13. Interested students majoring in STEM fields should e-mail Dr. Mackelprang (rachel.mackelprang@csun.edu) by Monday, March 26, and include a copy of their unofficial transcripts.

Image: The Mars rover Opportunity (NASA/JPL, via Wikimedia Commons)