Author's Note

Do a little research on planetary protection, and you're going to encounter Michael Crichton's "The Andromeda Strain." But if you want a campier take on the subject, pick up (or download) the 1982 flick "Creepshow." In it, there's a story called "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill," which stars Stephen King in the eponymous role. Jordy is a farmer who finds a meteorite and thinks it's his golden ticket. Unfortunately, the meteorite carries alien spores that turn the poor guy into a walking weed. It's not a happy ending, but it's an interesting take on planetary protection.

Related ArticlesSources
  • COSPAR Planetary Protection Policy. Oct. 20, 2002, amended Mar. 24, 2011.
  • Hurst, William C. and A. Estes Reynolds. "Food, Hands and Bacteria." University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Mar. 19, 2010. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://www.caes.uga.edu/publications/pubDetail.cfm?pk_id=5982
  • Irion, Robert. "Did Life on Earth Come from Mars." Discover Magazine. Aug. 1, 2001. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://discovermagazine.com/2001/aug/featmars/?searchterm=planetary%20protection
  • Jha, Alok. "Martian meteorite contains pockets of the red planet's atmosphere." The Guardian. Feb. 8, 2012. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/feb/08/natural-history-museum-martian-meteorite
  • Koerner, Brendan. "Your Planetary Protection Officer." Slate. Apr. 20, 2004. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2004/04/your_planetary_protection_officer.html
  • Lemonick, Michael D. "Alien Life Discovered in a Meteorite! Or Maybe Not." Time. Mar. 7, 2011. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2057461,00.html
  • Meltzer, Michael. "When Biospheres Collide: A History of NASA's Planetary Protection Programs." NASA. 2011.
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  • USS Hornet. "Apollo 11 & 12 Recovery." (Feb. 20, 2012) http://www.uss-hornet.org/history/apollo/
  • Weed, William Speed. "Are We Ready for Alien Bugs?" Discover Magazine. March 1, 2003. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://discovermagazine.com/2003/mar/featalien/?searchterm=planetary%20protection