Although the risk is small that threatening organisms will make their way to Earth via the Martian rock samples currently being collected, NASA is taking precautions. These samples—set to arrive in the 2030s—will first be held in a receiving facility that’s “capable of safely containing the most dangerous pathogens known to science,” that also “prevents substances on Earth from contaminating the samples from Mars,” according to The New York Times. In advance of the facility’s development, a NASA team scouted 18 technically superior facilities including the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories in Boston, the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick in Maryland and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Building 18 in Atlanta. Read more about their findings at The New York Times.
Image courtesy of Julian Glander