Talk:Interplanetary contamination

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Merge proposal[edit]

Well, someone added a merge tag, but didn't bother with actually making a proposal on this talk page, so let me start it. If anyone reads this, just be bold, do the merge, instead of debating it, right? linas (talk) 02:05, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

More info to beef up the page?[edit] If anyone is good at expanding articles, this is some more info relevant to interplanetary contamination (talk) 22:35, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

I have a lot of material suitable for this article. My research so far has been on contamination issues for Mars, but there is also lots written about other targets for instance Europa has an extensive discussion. I can add plenty of material on these topics.
As a basis I would use some of the material from this section User:Robertinventor/Colonization_of_Mars_-_concerns
There is a problem though. Warren Platts took on himself to remove all the material I wrote on contamination issues for Project Mars. There was no decision to topic ban me, he just undertook to do it himself. I believe it likely that he will also remove any contributions I add to this page too. He removes material that is not in support of the space colonization advocacy POV that contamination issues are no concern or easily contained, which he represents in his replacement text as the mainstream view.
Though he has been told that he shouldn't topic ban me without going through due process, this doesn't seem to stop him from removing my contributions, and for instance he has just removed a POV-section tag pointing to an open discussion, although the tag says clearly it shouldn't be removed until the discussion is closed. In the circumstances I am reasonably sure he will remove any contributions I make here. Robert Walker (talk) 07:49, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I suggest Back-contamination be merged here. Both articles are stubs in need of citations. The term, "interplanetary contamination" is more general and should probably be preferred until the topic is greatly expanded. beefman (talk) 17:47, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

  • Weak support. (Edited after seeing RW's comments on Wikipedia Talk:WikiProject Mars). Both articles are stub status really, and poorly referenced. Merge them for now so one article can be the focus; can split them again later if appropriate. Agree on the naming. EDIT - I see that there is a difference between forward and back contamination, but this article seems to generally cover both as it stands. I remain presently in favour of merging with Back Contamination as a major subsection here, as I think there will be lots of repetition otherwise. I could be convinced otherwise after the expansion has happened though. (i.e., whoever does the expansion needs to choose, but if they choose to combine, they probably ought to add a "discussion to split" tag so we can return to this later!) DanHobley (talk) 05:13, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Forward-contamination already redirects to Interplanetary contamination. I propose the latter article contain sections on both. beefman (talk) 18:55, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The two types of issue are different.
In the case of back contamination the focus is on protecting Earth. The main topic for discussion is the construction and effectiveness of the receiving facility, of quarantine, the integrity of the container and the nature of the risk for the Earth.
In the case of forward contamination the main focus is on the impact of contamination on the science value of the target. There is almost no overlap between the two subjects.
I believe it would assist reader comprehension to keep them as separate. The two articles are short at present because they are stubs. The available source material on both is extensive. I have been proposed as a suitable editor to expand the articles on the talk page on Project Mars.Robert Walker (talk) 07:40, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Dan Hobley that this is a decision best made by the editor who does the expansion. It might be necessary to have more than the two articles. The source material on back contamination particularly is extensive, many technical studies to summarize, and IMHO after my experience on writing the article that got deleted from Project Mars, it might not be possible to summarize it all adequately in a single article without overwhelming the reader. Robert Walker (talk) 08:05, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Support merge of back-contamination here. As a summary article, there is no reason the stub cannot be covered within this article's scope (for the time being at least). VQuakr (talk) 01:54, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

*Oppose Wow. I actually agree with Robert Walker for once. Though for completely different reasons, of course. Just look at that Back-contamination article. It is a POV-laden mess. There is nothing in there worth merging--other than the mere definition of "back contamination". Back-contamination should be Deleted. Warren Platts (talk) 03:40, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Merge away! I deleted the dross. That left about 3 mostly harmless sentences... Warren Platts (talk) 04:08, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment Warren's revision now has no mention of Mars and is only a brief historical section about the Moon sample return. This is the material I attempted to add to the article two days ago, now removed: Back contamination from Mars - Mars is of course considered by most to be the most likely origin for a restricted Category V sample return in the near future.
There is an open proposal on the page to restore this material, added just yesterday, Proposal to restore the content removed by VQuakr
Warren is attempting to bypass that discussion with a speedy merge / delete Robert Walker (talk) 09:25, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Merge Complete. I seconded beefman's motion to get on with the merge, since that seems to be the rough consensus. The question now is shall we merge /this/ article into Planetary protection (or vice versa). Warren Platts (talk) 14:48, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment The merge was also carried out at a time when material that I contributed to the page had been removed in the R stage of BRD and with an open discussion in the D stage about whether to restore it or not on the talk page. The editor who did the merge first reduced the content of the page to three sentences that only described the historical Moon quarantine program briefly, then did the merge, with this discussion to restore my material still open in the talk page. Robert Walker (talk) 12:35, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Merger proposal III[edit]

I just added the merge tag that this ought to be merged into the Planetary protection article somehow. There is a surfeit of stub articles on contamination. They should be deleted or merged into a single article IMHO. Planetary protection is the best of them IMHO. Cheers, Warren Platts (talk) 03:36, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose - The dust on this topic should be allowed to settle for a little while. Both articles can and should be improved prior to merging (which I would eventually support). beefman (talk) 23:41, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Hello, I fail to see the advantage of bringing both articles to higher quality only to merge them and start all over again. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk)
  • Indeed, no previous "improvement" is required for a merge of overlapping articles (WP:Merge). The merge itself is the improvement. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 16:53, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose I doubt if there is much point in posting here. Apologies if I am no longer welcome in this discussion. Just wanted to say that there is a difference between the articles. The Planetary Protection one is devoted to policies used to protect the planets. It is also ranked as high importance and is well written and should be edited only with care. There isn't much on that page that needs to be changed.
Merging all these articles together as you have been doing is a bit like merging Smallpox with Smallpox vaccine, Vaccine and Vaccination Act to give a very rough analogy. Robert Walker (talk) 20:03, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
This article is about contamination. You can have contamination without protection indeed if you don't follow the planetary protection protocols that is what will happen. In my view it is a very different topic. The material on this page wouldn't belong on Planetary Protection in my view.
This current page is of course totally inadequate with hardly a mention of a vast literature on the subject but I know you don't want to hear me talk about that now, or any contributions by me to improve it. Robert Walker (talk) 00:00, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Have posted to the Planetary Protection talk page with proposed focus for the article. I think it is much more useful as a separate article clearly focused on the COSPAR guidelines and their interpretation which is plenty of material for a single artlcle. See here: Suggestion for focus of this article. It might also help you to see why I suggest they need to remain as separate articles.
There is a huge amount that could be included on this current article, extensive literature, papers, books, studies, the problem would be to condense it enough given that you would often be summarizing entire chapters or papers in a single sentence. The current version of the article gives no idea at all of how much there is no the subject, if it were permitted to write about it here. Robert Walker (talk) 22:08, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Support - Planetary protection includes protection from contamination. The material on contamination should be moved onto the protection page. Robert McClenon (talk) 00:50, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment Please note, WP is the editor who was responsible for removing all the content I wrote on back contamination and forward contamination for project Mars.
WP takes as his authority for removing all this material and for asserting my lack of competence on the subject, an AfD which was carried out with many irregularities and which had no discussion of the cited sources or comparisons of the material in the article with the sources cited by it. It just consisted of many highly emotive attacks on my competence and the bias of the article, with no actual substance given for any of them.
There has been no topic ban and he has been warned that it is not appropriate to implement topic bans via talk page discussions.
In the material I wrote so far (now all deleted) I often had to summarize a paper or a chapter in a book in a single sentence or a few sentences at most, there is so much on it.
As you see below he and BI, respond with more insults, and it is the way he has got all the other editors on his side. They have both been offering OTT insults to me here in just about every post since 28th / 29th May Robert Walker (talk) 20:17, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment: Walker, I can summarize your POV of the literature in 4 words: Mars, there be dragons.
You have managed to annoy even those trying to help you. Maybe it is time for you to step back and realize the futility of introducing your fringe campaign in Wikipedia. -BatteryIncluded (talk) 16:25, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree that Planetary protection is the proper page. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:06, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
WP, RW, and BI are all annoying me. At least RW has stopped whining about the non-existent topic ban. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:06, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment I'd like to point out I'm the only one posting here who seems to have read the source material. WP has simply reused a few of the citations I found and added his own POV slant to them, and several times has shown he can't have read the source material - recently when he challenged me about a statement that a Mars sample receiving facility has to combine clean room and biohazard technology requiring conflicting technologies, one with positive and one with negative air pressure. He accused me of lying when I said that. With just a few minutes of a google search you would find several official sources saying this and I conclude he hasn't done any independent research into the topic and hasn't thoroughly read the sources I provided myself..
To me merging Interplanetary contamination with Planetary protection is a bit like merging Rain with Umbrella. Planetary protection is about the legislation and other measures taken to protect the planets and though fairly short it is not too short for a wikipedia article, is high importance, well written and I think it is clearer as a separate article. If you come to wikipedia to find out about the Planetary Protection policies, you don't want to have to navigate through a long article about contamination issues to find them.
Also there is far too much material on the topics for a single article and in my view there needs to be at least three articles as back contamination and forward contamination have almost no overlap of content. One is about protecting Earth from contamination, and biohazards for Earth and its environment, and issues such as the receiving facility and whether quarantine is effective. The other is about protecting the science value of the planets and issues such as whether Earth life could propogate on another planet, and appropriate measures for sterilization of spacecraft. I suggest writing them as separate pages first, then check to see if there is a significant amount of overlap and if the articles are short enough to merge together.
The existing articles are stubs and there is a huge literature, many papers and studies and book chapters to be summarized into a single article, it would be quite a challenge to condense it all down to three articles without leaving out notable content. I have been prevented from expanding them to show this, and the merge of back-contamination was carried out while there was an open discussion in the D stage of BRD to restore my contribution to the page. WP reduced it to three sentences, leaving out all modern research since the 1970s, and with a totally inadequate summary of the 1970s research (itself a suitable topic for an entire historical wikipedia page on the topic by the amount of material and notability) before doing the merge.
I always thought that there was a place in wikipedia for anything sufficiently notable. Unlike a paper encyclopedia you don't have a total page count and the importance of a page is not judged by the number of words given to it. Many low importance articles here have many pages. If so the discussion should be about where to put this notable and extensive material, not about whether to include it at all. To leave it out amounts to a topic "ban" IMHO.
There is a particular POV, that of Zubrin, according to which contamination issues are of little concern and interest, and if you have that POV then it makes sense in a way to think that wikipedia doesn't need this information. But even in that case, by "writing for the enemy" surely you can acknowledge that the literature on this topic is vast. Zubrin's is a minority POV as extreme in its own way as the ICAMSR and shouldn't be used as a basis for a revisionist treatment of the sources in the official NASA and ESA sponsored reports, which surely must be the "mainstream view". If for some reason you consider those to be minority views as WP seems to do, yet due to the amount of the literature it needs extensive treatment here under some heading or other even if the decision is made it has to be labelled as minority view material. If it is indeed a minority view, it is one that has extensive treatment in notable publications sponsored by the top spaceflight organizations and is surely notable. Personally I don't see how the POVs of NASA, ESA and the Office of Planetary Protection can possibly be called a minority views and most definitely not a fringe POV. According to those POVs, contamination issues are extensive and deserve an extensive material here in wikipedia. Robert Walker (talk) 13:17, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. I have been letting some dust settle before coming to a conclusion on this, but I do support the merge. I recognise these topics aren't total symonyms, but when I think about what content is appropriate for each article, I conclude there would be almost total overlap. The current contents of the articles bear this out IMO. PP currently includes essentially all the info in PC, and none of it shouldn't be there. That said, given RM's posting of this into the RFCs (I think) yesterday, we should leave this open a bit longer. I would support expanding this article with subsections on forward and back contamination separately, were someone to write this appropriately. Let's let this article grow, and reconsider subdivision once it gets unwieldy. DanHobley (talk) 17:59, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment Now that I've had a chance to develop the Planetary Protection article properly, hopefully it is now clear why it needs to be separate from the other article. I have also done a bit of work on the other article, but more needs to be done on it, I think again enough to be reasonably clear why it needs to be a separate article. Robert Walker (talk) 21:12, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

Removal of "sterile"[edit]

I agree that the removal of "sterile" was essential. Back-contamination is of a non-sterile planet, the Earth. Both articles should be merged into planetary protection. Once that is done, I will support RW's efforts to introduce more material on the risks of back-contamination. There is not a consensus that RW's material should be removed. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:57, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Robert, sorry I can't follow your plan to add my material to "Planetary Protection".
I added the Catetory IV subdivisions for Mars to it, and that is the only thing of my research that I feel is appropriate there. It is high importance and a well written article and no way do I want to interfere with it. It is near perfection in my view.
Planetary protection is about the measures used to protect planets and rightly focuses on the COSPAR guidelines as its main content. Planetary contamination is about the contamination issues themselves - and are the reason the protection is required. They of course should cross link but should not be merged in my view.
I also don't feel I can contribute to this article either.
I have just had all my material I added to the back contamination article removed . The merge was carried out with an open topic for discussion to restore my material on the page, as the D phase of BRD. In the past few days I also had my POV-section tag removed from the MSR back contamination section with open discussion of the POV slant in progress on the talk page.
In my view it amounts to a revisionist treatment of the subject where only certain statements of the source material are permitted to be used and only a particular POV slant is permitted.
Everything else gets immediately removed without discussion and with bold edits, and can't be reinstated. That includes direct quotes from the sources. It doesn't matter how accurate or how carefully cited and checked, it just gets removed. It is not evaluated according to the standard of good scholarship.
I can't be a part of this revisionist rewrite, of anything, and especially, of a topic that is close to my heart. I can only support it if the main POV is clearly presented and dissenting POVs given appropriate treatment. I can't support it when a dissenting view is treated as the mainstream view and inaccurately attributed as a POV of the mainstream sources, as is the case right now. IRobert Walker (talk) 11:59, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
Maybe I have misread the posts by Robert Walker, but it appears that he is arguing against merging this article with Planetary protection because he wants this article to be a POV Fork, a fork or split of an article to present a different POV than is presented in the parent article. I understand why he wants the "child" article preserved to present a different POV than the parent article, which is that he thinks that the parent article will be biased because it is being edited by WP and BI, who will delete material that is contrary to his POV. That is contrary to policy. Rather than having one article with one POV and another with the alternate POV is just not the way that Wikipedia works. I realize that RW thinks that his contributions will be deleted in toto by WP and BI, and that he doesn't want to fight them, but to create or defend a fork article. That isn't the way Wikipedia works. We need one article that is balanced, or if necessary two articles, both of which are balanced, not two articles to provide balance between two different points of view. I suggest that RW either agree to the merger (or acknowledge that the consensus will be to merge), and allow there to be one article, or that he expand the amount of coverage so that two balanced articles are needed. The arguments that two articles are needed to present two points of view is an argument for POV forking, and that is deprecated. Robert McClenon (talk) 01:58, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
Sorry for the misunderstanding. I have never suggested a POV fork.
The Planetary protection is about the legislation and other measures to protect the planet. It is not that long but is easy to read and not so short that it has to be merged with another article. It needs no major editing right now, in my view either by myself or anyone else. It just needs minor updates, e.g. to update on the planetary protection policies as they are changed. I see no point at all in merging the material here with that page.
I do also think this current article is low quality and biased. It was your suggestion that I work on a separate article from WP as clearly we couldn't collaborate, because he would just revert any edit I attempt to make. I offered to write an article with a collaborator who is keen to work with me on this topic who has the opposite POV to me. But this offer has not been accepted.
In the circumstances I feel I can't contribute here at all on contamination issues, and have no plans to do so, unless the climate of opinion here changes in some way. Maybe a year from now there will be either new discoveries or some change or new people here and there may be more interest in including this material here.
Meanwhile, I accept that here in wikipedia then basically Zubrin's views on contamination prevail, and that as a result the contamination sections are going to be drastically trimmed as they are thought to be of no importance. Nevertheless, I would like to suggest, strongly, that contamination is not the same topic as protection against contamination and that the two articles should not be merged. Robert Walker (talk) 02:46, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
Just realized what made you think of POV forks. My edit of Back-contamination could be thought of as an attempt as a POV fork. But I didn't mean it like that. It was meant as a basis for a new article that I would complete with my collaborator friend to correct bias later on. It would presumably also be the main article with the MSR section just a short summary of it.
It would be bound to create a different impression from WPs contributions since my friend though he has the opposite POV to me also feels that significant science and research should not be left out just because you don't personally agree with it. So since WP leaves out material which I would of course include it, any articles that cover the same topics would look rather different. That can't be helped. But it is not an intentional POV fork, and indeed it would present all the main POVs on back contamination. It is a field where there is considerable variation in view and Zubrin's views IMHO should be presented as an extreme view as extreme as the ICAMSR. It is one of the measures of bias of the existing content that his views are not singled out as extremist in the way the ICAMSR's views are. On this topic - on other topics he is not extremist, but on this topic he is. Robert Walker (talk) 03:22, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Merge completed[edit]

OK, since the rough consensus appears to be to merge this article into Planetary protection I made the effort to make it happen. I think it's a good improvement over both former articles. If there are any objections, make them now on the Planetary protection talk page, or forever hold your peace. Cheers, Warren Platts (talk) 14:27, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

An RFC was open as to whether to merge the articles. The purpose of the RFC was to request additional editors to obtain a consensus as to whether to merge. For an active participant in the merger debate to decide that consensus was achieved, without waiting for the RFC to attract consensus, was a violation of Wikipedia policy. Robert McClenon (talk) 16:33, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
Huh? There is no "violation of Wikipedia policy". We've received comments from 5 people. 4 of them support the merger. Only Robert Walker opposes the merger, and as you are slowly finding out, no amount of reasoning will ever change his mind about anything. No other comments are evidently forthcoming. But if they did, they would most likely agree with the 80% majority here--as I'm sure you would agree. So what's the holdup?
The new and improved, merged article may be found here. If you don't think it's an improvement then feel free to write up a version yourself. But there's no point in dragging this thing out for the sake of dragging it out. We've all already spent way too much time on this FUBAR fiasco.... Warren Platts (talk) 17:34, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
It is natural for someone who writes on a notable topic with many sources to object when all the material is removed from wikipedia, and to continue to object as more and more of the material is removed. That's just refusing to be silenced, and exercising freedom of speech. Robert Walker (talk) 17:51, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
Freedom of speech is not relevant to what's going on here, Robert. Wiki policy recognises this explicitly: WP:NOTFREESPEECH. We're not infringing your right to it, we're just trying to come to a consensus on what improves the wiki the most. I can understand your frustration, but try to see this impartially as well. DanHobley (talk) 18:08, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
Agree with RM it's a bit too early to close this. The RFC specifically on this has not been up long, we should give it a bit longer to get traction. Consensus does seem to be hardening around the merge, however. I note WP has reverted his own merger. Thanks. DanHobley (talk) 18:04, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Started work on the article[edit]

I'm just at a "sketching it out" stage at present. Have loads of references I can use, but haven't put them in yet because not sure what the exact shape of the article should be.

But thought it worth making a start on it. Will return to this later after some thought.

The one big topic that should be included here is a discussion of human colonization and contamination issues that would arise from that, there is a fair amount published on it. But it needs careful and sensitive treatment because feelings on these issues run high. It needs to be approached with the right "angle" as it were to do it properly and not sure I can do that right now. More later. Robert Walker (talk) 16:04, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Had another go, felt I could write the human section now, so did it, I think it is okay and not controversial hopefully. There is lots of material available and many many sources on all this, once I am happy with the structure. So, assuming what I wrote is not reverted in an edit war, I can have a go at writing a citation backed up article in detail. There is much I could do by way of adding citations, filling out the sections in detail, and probably adding a few more sections as well. Robert Walker (talk) 16:35, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

If you have issues with the lack of citations, please just add {{cn}} tags. I plan to add citations but it is a lot of work to do that, and you can't do everything at once (and I have a lot on right now so don't have much time to work on this right now).

Hi Robert - just a friendly note to say, be careful with this article. That merge flag—and the pre-existing discussion suggesting a merge is likely based on how the article was before—means that work you put in here might end up getting lost or devalued if and when a merge occurs. You might be able to convince people the article should stand on its own by making changes, but of course you might not. So just bear that in mind as you put in effort.
You'll probably also want to place an "under construction" banner?DanHobley (talk) 16:54, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Hi Dan - yes I know. I'm hopeful that I will be able to convince people especially now that Warren Platts has stopped contributing to wikipedia. The others in the debate in support of the merge were mainly people who don't contribute to astronomy articles. So, now that the fuss has died down, I expect they won't return to the debate, as they also most of them didn't seem either interested in the topic itself or knowledgeable about it. Robert McClenon encouraged me to try editing again and said he would take the case to arbitration again if similar behaviour happened again such as a merge without a sufficient discussion or final decision reached according to due wikipedia processes.
That encourages me to give it a go. But I haven't put too much work into this article yet. After a week or two I can put more work into it. Meanwhile will just add refs from time to time and improve it in minor ways. I expect eventually to create an article similar to the Planetary protection one in size and scope, and feel that is the best way to show that it deserves a separate article.
Robert McClenon did tell me to take care in my editing, which I have done, you can see his comments on my talk page. I will take a fresh look at this a week or so from now to make sure the tone is reasonably neutral, and once it is reasonably ready, check with my friend with views sympathetic to Robert Zubrin that it looks okay to him and invite him to edit it if he wants to. Robert Walker (talk) 09:21, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Section on legal issues of Mars sample return[edit]

I plan to add in a section on the legal principles, as any Mars sample return to Earth raises many complex legal issues much more so than most realize. Margaret Race went into this in detail in an article on the subject. M. S. Race Planetary Protection, Legal Ambiguity, and the Decision Making Process for Mars Sample Return Adv. Space Res. vol 18 no 1/2 pp (1/2)345-(1/2)350 1996

I would add in this section, which has some of the material that got deleted from my separate page on Mars sample return issues, the one that got removed in an AfD last year.

It is better written I hope, done some more work on it since then. I think it is by far the least likely to lead to controversy about whether to include it or not of all the material.

There are other sections that could also be added, but this is just summarizing a single paper, the only substantial paper I know of on the topic, an academic paper by one of the top researchers in the field of Planetary protection.

Legal process of approval for Mars sample return[edit]

Margaret Race has examined in detail the legal process of approval for a MSR.[5] She found that under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (which did not exist in the Apollo era) a formal environment impact statement is likely to be required, and public hearings during which all the issues would be aired openly. This process is likely to take up to several years to complete.

During this process, she found, the full range of worst accident scenarios, impact, and project alternatives would be played out in the public arena. Other agencies such as the Environment Protection Agency, Occupational Health and Safety Administration, etc, may also get involved in the decision making process.

The laws on quarantine will also need to be clarified as the regulations for the Apollo program were rescinded. In the Apollo era, NASA delayed announcement of its quarantine regulations until the day Apollo was launched, so bypassing the requirement for public debate - something that would be unlikely to be tolerated today.

It is also probable that the presidential directive NSC-25 will apply which requires a review of large scale alleged effects on the environment and is carried out subsequent to the other domestic reviews and through a long process, leads eventually to presidential approval of the launch.

Then apart from those domestic legal hurdles, there are numerous international regulations and treaties to be negotiated in the case of a Mars Sample Return, especially those relating to environmental protection and health. She concluded that the public of necessity has a significant role to play in the development of the policies governing Mars Sample Return.

Where I got it from and other material that could be added if thought useful[edit]

Just using the text from this section in my version of the deleted material over at For more on this topic see

Mars Sample Return - Legal Issues and Need for International Public Debate - which I put into my column after it got deleted from wikipedia as is permitted by the Wikipedia license. See also Mars Sample Receiving Facility and sample containment

Both of these in my view are uncontroversial encyclopedic articles, summarizing material that is readily available and published in reputable sources on the topics - leaving the reader to make their own mind on the subject. I added them to my column as a useful reference for readers who want to go to the original literature on some of the topics I discuss in the column, since after deletion of the detailed article on Mars sample return issues, wikipedia no longer had any page on the topic that I felt was worth directing them to as a lead in to the rather large amount of literature on the subject.

None of the readers of my column have found them controversial. I think myself that all the material there is suitable for wikipedia - not so much my other articles on Mars sample return - but those two are pretty much just encyclopedic surveys of the literature I believe.

But don't worry. I will step carefully and for now just introduce this section on the legal issues and see how it goes - if there are no objections, then I could think about introducing more material as well, slowly, careful to proceed in an encyclopedic fashion. Robert Walker (talk) 21:22, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Interplanetary contamination[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Interplanetary contamination's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "Steigerwald":

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 17:04, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

Removed merge tag[edit]

I just removed the merge tag as there has been no discussion for over a year. And I think reasonably clear that this material should be kept separate from "Planetary Protection". There's some overlap - but is common for wikipedia articles to have some overlap with each other.

Planetary contamination can go into details of the research done into ways that microbes could contaminate other planets and extra terrestrial life contaminate Earth. While Planetary Protection has as its main focus the legislation and practical measures to protect against contamination, and only needs a brief mention of the reasons for that protection.

Is best to keep the two separate I think, hopefully the new versions of the articles make this clear. Also, the editor who proposed the merge - and who then went ahead and did it himself - reversed his actions here as you see above - and has left wikipedia. Robert Walker (talk) 10:01, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Issues arising from biological contamination[edit]

I just discovered the list of requests for references in this section. Will need to chase up some references to fix this. Have fixed the astrobionibbler one anyway - that was easy as it is referenced later in the article. More later Robert Walker (talk) 10:21, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Removed the bit about unverifiable speculation - can do with some improvement still - and can surely find plenty more citations for it - lot's written about all this - but I've cited just about everything. Robert Walker (talk) 23:40, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Cited everything listed as needing citations so removed refimprove tag[edit]

Done at least one cite for each instance of the inbody requests. Are a few sentences in the page still that don't have citations to back them up. But don't see any obvious errors there, just material that is missing citations, and most of it easy to find stuff. Will add them, takes time, will do them soon. Robert Walker (talk) 11:06, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Removed Venera 9 sentence[edit]

Removed sentence saying

  • Venera 9 - USSR mission to Venus that may have been partially contaminated prior to launch.

That's because I don't understand it, and there is no citation to back it up. Venera 9 landed on the surface of Venus and AFAIK, there were no planetary protection measures required and there was not considered to be any risk of it contaminating Venus. After all the Venus surface is category I for Cospar (Venus as a whole, Category 2 for NASA, see Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Venus Missions -- Letter Report ( 2006 ) ). Please correct if I've misunderstood something!

Thanks, Robert Walker (talk) 01:16, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Trimmed from article - Apollo, Surveyer, Galileo[edit]

Just not sure where these belong in the article - mixture of different things, not sure what the common thread is.

So removed them from now, added a paragraph linking to Planetary protection which goes into these things also to some extent. May put some of this back in the article but not sure where or how exactly.

I mean - should we list all the measures taken to prevent contamination of the solar system by spacecraft in individual missions? And all the places in the solar system where some measure of contamination by Earth life may be possible? That would be a long list by now. And if not, what selection criteria?

  • the Galileo one is an example of prevention of contamination
  • the Apollo example is an example of forward contamination but of a Category II destination so not considered that it matters
  • the Surveyor 3 is an example that may show that there are life forms on our spacecraft on the Moon. Seems likely that there are anyway - but this particular observation doesn't give good confirmation because of the possibility of later contamination.

And in any case certainly will be some dormant life left from the Apollo astronauts visits to the Moon.

So - maybe should have something on all this - just not sure where, or how, and how to structure it, or how it relates to the other material. Any thoughts do say!

If no-one has any thoughts on this, I'll come back to this article again and see if a fresh look at it a bit later helps. Robert Walker (talk) 01:33, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

<start of removed material>

Galileo spacecraft[edit]

Apollo missions[edit]

All of the manned Apollo missions that landed on the Moon (11, 12, & 14-17) leave open the possibility of the contamination of the lunar surface by the astronauts when they exited the lunar module.

Surveyor 3[edit]

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.[2]

  • 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.

<end of removed material>

  1. ^ Michael Meltzer, Mission to Jupiter: a History of the Galileo Project, NASA SP 2007-4231, p. 281
  2. ^ Apollo 12 Remembered. Lunar Germ Colony or Lab Anomaly?