News of the WeekASTROBIOLOGY

Returning Alien Rocks Right the Second Time

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Science  08 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5523, pp. 1817
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5523.1817a

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The first time astronauts brought rocks and soil back from the moon, Earth was poorly protected from possible contamination. To do it right the next time--when Mars rocks are returned as early as 2014--researchers need to start deciding now how to handle extraterrestrial samples both safely and cleanly, according to a report released last week by the U.S. National Research Council.