The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is inviting grant applications for research on planetary protection: that is, preventing biological contamination on both outbound and sample return missions to other planetary bodies. Numerous areas of research in astrobiology/exobiology are improving our understanding of the potential for survival of Earth microbes in extraterrestrial
environments, relevant to preventing contamination of other bodies by organisms carried on spacecraft. NASA will support research on the potential for both forward and backward contamination, how to minimize it, and to set standards in these areas for spacecraft preparation and operating procedures. Improvements in technologies and methods for evaluating the potential for life in returned samples are also of interest.
DEADLINE: A letter of intent is due June 29, full proposals September 5. NASA will accept late letters of intent.