There is a growing concern that desiccation and extreme radiation-resistant, non-spore-forming microorganisms associated with spacecraft surfaces can withstand space environmental conditions and subsequent proliferation on another solar body. Such forward contamination would jeopardize future life detection or sample return technologies. The prime focus of NASA’s planetary protection efforts is the development of strategies for inactivating resistance-bearing microorganisms. Eradi cation techniques can be designed to target resistance-conferring microbial populations by first identifying and understanding their physiologic and biochemical capabilities that confers its elevated tolerance (as is being studied in Deinococcus phoenicis, as a result of this description). Furthermore, hospitals, food, and government agencies frequently use biological indicators to ensure the efficacy of a wide range of radiation-based sterilization processes. Due to their resistance to a variety of perturbations, the non-spore forming D. phoenicis may be a more appropriate biological indicator than those currently in use.