Contamination monitoring must be placed in the forefront for long-term space exploration experiments in order to help obtain interpretable data. Present day computer program codes have been developed to the stage where they are very useful for contamination modeling and have been used to some extent with the Shuttle Orbiter associated experimental programs. With the upcoming Space Station program, contamination issues must be openly discussed and put into the proper perspective in order to help alleviate some of the associated problems encountered during the Shuttle flight experiments.
Issues are discussed relative to ongoing contamination concerns, pointing out some errors of the past and suggesting improvements in experimental approaches to enhance the interpretability of data. The purpose of this article is to focus attention on a critical technology that has been ignored to some extent in past flight experiments. Also, references and data are presented to show that significant efforts have been made in the contamination area. The present need is to make use of the available data and ensure that contamination control guidelines are adhered to. This must be done early in any proposed orbiting spacecraft design and not be added in during critical experimental stages.