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NYU Abu Dhabi researchers advocate for stronger sustainability regulations in space exploration laws
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NYU Abu Dhabi researchers advocate for stronger sustainability regulations in space exploration laws
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Jun 04, 2024

In a new study, a team of researchers led by Dimitra Atri of the NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Center for Astrophysics and Space Science calls for strengthening existing planetary protection policies to include requirements for preserving the Lunar and Martian environments. They argue that guidelines should be expanded beyond biological contamination to address issues like orbital debris, crowding, and security. They also recommend adding compliance incentives to all existing and improved sustainability policies. Team members include Paulina Umansky from the University of California, Berkeley, and K. R. Sreenivasan from New York University, New York.

In the paper titled "Sustainability as a core principle of space and planetary exploration" published in the journal Space Policy, the researchers present a review of existing planetary protection laws and literature, identifying key shortcomings in rules guiding human space exploration. They highlight several unaddressed issues, including atmospheric and abiotic contamination, which represent important gaps in planetary policy that must be collaboratively confronted.

The researchers also argue for the necessity of sustainability on planetary objects such as the Moon and Mars and provide examples of terrestrial benefits from sustainable exploration practices in space. They cite the potential development of new technologies that, while designed for sustainable uses beyond Earth, could advance terrestrial technology.

"Sustainability must become a core principle of human space exploration," said Atri. "Just as we view climate change as the great challenge facing our terrestrial human society, the space community should begin to address space sustainability with the same urgency. The rules and procedures implemented now will govern the next generation of space exploration -- rules that create a basis for clean and safe space exploration that will not only be productive and enforceable for years to come but are also stronger and more specific in their requirements and enforceability."

Research Report:Sustainability as a core principle of space and planetary exploration

Related Links
NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Center for Astrophysics and Space Science
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

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