NASA’s remote Earth sensing capabilities are proving instrumental in delineating, locating and predicting new or current invasive species infestations on both the land and in the oceans.  In addition, NASA’s Planetary Protection Office continues in the forefront of monitoring invasive species farther afield, ensuring that the risk of accidental cross-contamination of the planets by hitchhiking life forms during interplanetary missions is kept to a minimum.  Therefore, NASA’s activities address a range of potential invasive species issues.  For example, NASA has been active in meeting the requirements of the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty Article IX, which specifies that solar system exploration missions should avoid forward and backward contamination of biological material.  NASA’s current guidance on potential invasive species is derived from the International Council for Science (ICSU)/Committee on Space Research’s (COSPAR) international standards for planetary protection, along with recommendations from a number of U.S. National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council studies and the presence of an active Planetary Protection Advisory Subcommittee, which includes international and interagency representation.

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