NASA assembles its spacecraft and prepares them for launch in sterile clean rooms -- in part to protect any delicate instrumentation, and in part to make sure that the spacecraft don't bring Earth microbes along with them to their extraterrestrial destination. Tomorrow on Science Friday
, we'll be talking with Catharine Conley, a NASA planetary protection officer, about what it means for Curiosity's Mars mission that one of the rover's drill bits may have been contaminated prior to launch.
Just how clean is a clean room? And how does a person prepare to do work in one? Check out this video tour of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion laboratory
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For more about what it takes to engineer an instrument destined for space, check out Flora's video that takes you behind the scenes of Honeybee Robotics, a lab that built parts for Curiosity.