Mars Attacks? Protecting Earth From Off-World Infections

Ebola outbreaks. Mad cow disease. Now the huge effort to contain the highly contagious foot-and-mouth plague sweeping across England, infecting cattle, sheep and other cloven-hoofed animals. These are a few of the biological battlegrounds here on Earth. But they also offer insight into future projects designed to bring to Earth samples from Mars, asteroids and comets. NASA has had a long-standing effort underway in planetary protection.