Project Review meeting's minutes

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Attending: Ian Lyon, Sally Taylor, Frédéric Foucher, Sara Russell, Luigi Folco, Caroline Smith, Olly Bacon, Jutta Zipfel, Frances Westall, Ludovic Ferrière, Aurore Hutzler, Lucy Berthoud, Tom Pottage, Andrea Meneghin, John Brucato, Ian Francchi, Matthieu Gounelle, Andrea Longobardo

11:20: J Brucato presenting WP2 Planetary Protection

WP1: review of technology and science requirements for contamination control.

Facility: deal with sample, but also with pieces of hardware, spaceship…

CS: how far are ESA and NASA for containment facility? Recently, no specific paper dedicated to that. So no major progress. CS: Nicolas Walter (ESF, who also attended the Greenwich meeting). What is the link between what we and they are doing? PPOSS? Mostly for moons of Saturn and Jupiter. Strong link with what we are doing.

IL: How do you prove the 10-6 chance of releasing? CS & TP: you can do some calculations, but usually you sterilize it all.

CS: We are looking at a roadmap on technological requirements & Science. ESA is focused mostly on technological requirements, and also on mission preparation.

JB: on an ESA group “PUG”, looking for Luna 27 and Luna 28 with Roskosmos. Water is not enough: need of nutrients, of liquid water, of metabolism proof.

ST: why not workshop in January? AM & JB: a bit premature, so push back the workshop in June.

WP3 talk: if robotics, need maintenance (IF)

CS: remote storage: ECSF could be a remote storage for NASA or JAXA samples. Very good opportunity.

LFo: how to introduce new parts, new instruments: receiving part. Also about impact: a network of camera to follow at all time the samples, to show the public, and also as a safety process. Check the legislation for recording. Think about expansion of the facility, to accommodate new technologies, new samples…

WP4 talk

IL: What if biohazard in the sample, if the facility is not equipped to study the sample? MG: so should we build the facility with everything inside from the very beginning? Or prepare the facility to be flexible? CS: tricky, since ESA and NASA PP groups did not define a recent protocol to detect life, so we’re not sure of what we’ll have to do. LB: we need to know in advance what instrument we’ll need, to develop a DWI that can interact with the required instruments. MG: let’s be less cautious, like NASA was for Apollo? CS: some space missions (Mars 2020) will give us more input on the probability to have life.

LF: what kind of instruments to be used for contamination control? MG: Some might be inside, some outside.

LF: are you planning to ask scientists from every field what they would like to do, and what shouldn’t be done? MG: since WP3 started to ask these kinds of questions, we should work together.

CS: impressive with OSIRIS-REX is how contamination control has been part of the design of the mission.

WP8 talk

ST: how to make these contents accessible to other countries, like non-English-speaking.

LF: national opportunities in each country.

CS: Science Uncovered? In Bruxelles?

IL: website should have been live on month 3; it was live on month 6. SR: it’s growing by the day. Issues with some contents on the website!! (Passport of ??)

Concept of facility (lead by LF):

LFo: actions to be done is important.

Analogue samples room: WP5 should provide more info on the use, the size…

MG: don’t we go too fast ?

CS: one big building with all in it ? Or two mirror buildings ? Two or 3 concepts ? LF: deliverable month 16 for preliminary concept. LB: if we don’t do the concept, it’s not going to happen.

JB: further input from the students ? No, but the collaboration could go on with the lead architects.

IF: the exercise could be implemented as the design brief.

AM: why don’t we try a couple other concepts ? So we can have several solutions ?

AH: sure, but should we stick to the proposal that states with one facility ? CS: not really, they could be 2 buildings.

SR: costs ? CS no, LF yes, talk about Serge Plattard from ESPI who strongly recommended to have precise costs to present to EC and UNOOSA.

SR: if we came up with a brilliant expansive facility, will it impact the return mission ? CS: IMars discuss it thoroughly, with who would fund this facility. Apparently, a small facility near an existing facility is the better trade off.

LFo: WP5: what we should do with analogue samples outside and inside of the facility ?

LB: ask the architects to do the costs drivers.

LFo: insists on list of actions inside the facility. Also, keep some spare room for the implementation for the facility.

Sally & Ian briefing:

Thanks everybody for the presentations.

IL: you have a difficult job to define something we don’t know when and how it will happen. Website could be improved, needs a lot of work. IL was surprised to see it.

ST: surprised that it was not used as a way to reach the scientific community…

IL: Major deliverable was 1.9: state of art. Some parts were not so good. • WP4 in particular, looks like a document put together after a month, not after almost a year. Typo/grammar errors, not complete. It should be better for a publicly available document. What is the minimum we need, to establish PP, life detection, contamination control… • WP2 and WP3 not so good either.

ST: will reject the documents, and ask for a new version. ONE MONTH from the time it is rejected, while sending the comments and reviews.

IL: the reports don’t do us justice.

ST: public engagement: not a great deal has been done on WP8. It’s important to do what is in the description of proposal. Tizzy the Tweezers would be a distraction from the work to do.

ST: they encourage collaboration with other EU projects. So try to invite people from other EU projects to our workshops. Or even do a joint workshop. Ask about relevance of our project and progress.

They will also ask why there are changes from the original plan, and we need to explain it.

Need to use the wiki!!

Luigi's notes:

Assessment by Ian and Sally:

- Careless reports, not all but particularly 1.9 (perhaps a draft of the report was posted and not the final version). Remove from web-page/public. Revision required within a month from Sally/EC's notification.

- Web-page poor; needs major improvements. The public cannot understand who we are and what we are doing.

- EOC activity poor: very early stage. Needs major improvements.

- Interaction with other related EC projects should be promoted.

- (Ian suggestion) reports are bad at least some. Today's talks are good. Perhaps we should

revise our reports on the basis of what said in our talks.

Luigi's general feeling.

We made good presentations. We however discussed too much of our project problems and yet-unclear matters in front of assessors. Showing weakness is not good. Example we all know that is difficult to predict what samples will be returned from space, but we should not give the impression that we do not know what could be the samples and how to deal with them. We have to work on plausible hypothesis and show that we are aware that unpredictable samples could arrive in our hands in the future. Example: we could focus on rock l.s. samples and head off gases, but be prepared to dedicate/set up part of the facility to address other types of samples (ice, gases) according to missions objectives. These kind of weakness can be the killer (again, my feeling, and I maybe wrong). Perhaps we should meet before the evaluation meeting and agree on strong arguments.


- Based on Genesis experience, we should include samples of the landing sites (contamination checks): Kazakistan, Woomera, UTTR USA, any other?

- Ian pointed out to include fossil microorganism bearing rocks in the analogue list like stromatolite ... I collected a specimen of the Cochabamba formation in WAustralia in 2012 ... hard to cut eh!

- Matthieu rose the question as to where the analogues could be handled/processed/curated: inside or outside the facility? Many people opted for having the analogues in the facility in "environments" separated from those dedicated the returned samples, i.e. following a "mirrow" ET sample treatment line. More space/labs in facility required. However, I personally think that analogue subsamples (type-specimen, slabs, chips, powder, etc) could be prepared prior to entering the facility (?) to reduce "contamination/entropy".

- I personally stressed that we should have a receiving room for conditioning anything other than ET samples that enters the facility. This holds for future analogues, instrumental spare parts, etc.

- WS of interest: WP3: Vienna (April 13-16). WP2: Florence (June 14-16). WP5: Frankfurt (two days in between May 18-20). WP4: Paris? dates not given yet.

- we should interact more with engineers to define the physical properties of our analogues they need to know.

Other relevant points

- Ian suggestions about the PP issues: it is the starting point; standards must be well identified to convince authorities and people that the inspected/analysed returned samples are dangerous for the human kind or not.

- Two approaches for WP3. Ludovic: first infrastructure design. John: first define the actions we want to take in the facility and then proceed to the infrastructure design. I personally agree with John. But having got to a good point with the list of infrastructures, we can now proceed swiftly with a list of actions and refine the project.

- WP3. Robotics or human? Most people agree on both. Me too.

- My opinion: I have seen a too long list of instrumentations in the WP4 talk, including some improbable ones (synchrotrone). The list could be considerably reduced.

- Financial statement to Olly by Feb 15th (he needs to check them out before the deadline on Feb 29th).

- Timesheets. Olly does not need them, but for instance my University administration indeed does (damn!).

- Releases to media. Perhaps we should make a list of things that have to be said to the media in all occasions, as well common press-releases to be translated in different languages