The Red Planet as seen by Europe’s Mars Express.
Credit: ESA/D. O’Donnell – CC BY-SA IGO


There is growing discussion, debate, and frustration regarding future exploration of Mars and how best to hunt for past, even present life on the Red Planet.

Credit: Bryan Versteeg

A wide range of thorny issues now require attention. Some of these have been brought to the fore by just round the corner private sector missions, cleanliness demands for Mars probes, plans to robotically hurl Martian samples back to Earth, and the outlook of eventually planting human footprints on that faraway world.

One facet of the deliberation is what constitutes a “Special Region” on Mars.

For more information, please go to my new Scientific American story:

Reduce Red Tape for the Red Planet, Report Says – Regulations governing the responsible exploration of Mars and other worlds require regular, frequent updates, according to a new NASA review

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