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Interplanetary contamination, also called forward contamination, is the hypothetical contamination of a sterile planetary body by human spacecraft, either deliberate or unintentional. This is considered a potential form of directed panspermia. Currently, international agreements cover the sterility of spacecraft that leave Earth.
 Resilience of life in space
It is expected that the harsh environments encountered throughout the rest of the Solar System do not seem to support complex terrestrial life; however, certain extremophiles may be resilient enough to survive space travel to possibly contaminate a sterile planet or planetoid.
On 26 April 2012, scientists reported that lichen survived and showed remarkable results on the adaptation capacity of photosynthetic activity within the simulation time of 34 days under Martian conditions in the Mars Simulation Laboratory (MSL) maintained by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
 Prevention of contamination
 Galileo spacecraft
- The Galileo spacecraft was deliberately crashed into Jupiter at the end of the mission in order to avoid contaminating any of the moons of Jupiter.
 Apollo missions
 Surveyor 3
The Surveyor 3 Moon probe, launched by NASA, may have had a camera lens contaminated by Streptococcus mitis before launch. This was discovered when the camera was returned to Earth by the Apollo 12 mission; however, the time of the contamination is inconclusive and may have occurred after the camera was returned to Earth.
 See also
- Back-contamination - The theoretical contamination of Earth's biosphere from microbial extraterrestrial organisms.
- Surveyor 3 - It is claimed that a common type of bacteria, Streptococcus mitis, accidentally contaminated the Surveyor's camera prior to launch, and that the bacteria survived two years until discovered by Apollo 12.
- Venera 9 - USSR mission to Venus that may have been partially contaminated prior to launch.
- Baldwin, Emily (26 April 2012). "Lichen survives harsh Mars environment". Skymania News. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
- de Vera, J.-P.; Kohler, Ulrich (26 April 2012). "The adaptation potential of extremophiles to Martian surface conditions and its implication for the habitability of Mars". European Geosciences Union. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
- GYRE.org Mars Robot may have destroyed evidence of life
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch Scientists fear Interplanetary Contamination in new Mars missions
- Wired Magazine Water Bears Are Headed for a Martian Moon
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