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  • The ongoing IAA Study on Protecting the Environment of Celestial Bodies (PECB): The Conceptual Background and Intermediate Results

    Paper number



    Prof. Mahulena Hofmann, Giessen University, Germany


    Dr. Petra Rettberg, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Germany


    Mr. Marc Haese, ESA/ ESTEC, The Netherlands



    The implementation of plans for intensive activities on the Moon and for the more frequent impact of man-made objects on the environment of Mars can be expected for the near future. The realization of these plans might result in a growing risk of damages to, or even destruction of, the environment of the celestial bodies concerned. It seems that without any preventive measures these still unique areas will face a detrimental environmental development similar to what happened to the near-earth space. The development of guidelines and possible means of regulations on international level will therefore be of increasing importance in the future.
    The IAA Study on “Protecting the Environment of Celestial Bodies” (PECB) has been initiated in order to face these phenomena and to respond to the most pressing questions connected with this issue. It has been accepted by the Commission V of the International Astronautical Academy and approved by the SAC in spring 2007. The study uses a multidisciplinary approach for these issues and aims at identifying possible solutions which would be acceptable to the international community. The study has been, and continues to be, carried out in several steps: The first one has been the definition of key questions related to the protection of celestial bodies which took part mostly during the Kick-off Meeting at the occasion of the 58th International Astronautical Congress in Hyderabad, India. An international and interdisciplinary study team is formed in the first half of 2008. After the distribution of the relevant themes among the potential authors, first drafting work for each chapter will start in spring 2008. The 2008 Glasgow IAF Congress will serve as a platform for presenting and discussing the very first results from the work begun and the steps to follow. It is intended to publish the final IAA Cosmic Study in 2010. 
    The present paper discusses the crucial issues of the project: its scope, the conceptual and methodological background, its time schedule, as well as its key issues and challenges. The paper will be presented in the IAA and at the IISL session connected with legal issues of the environmental protection.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-08.E8.4.5.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.