Learn More About Mars Analogs:
Why Study Analogs? See Chris McKay's reasons.
Field sites in the Antarctic Dry Valleys serve as useful (and relatively
nearby) analogs to the surface of Mars for several reasons. The environmental
similarities include low mean temperatures, strong and desiccating
winds, lack of rain, sparse snowfall, sublimation, diurnal freeze-thaw
cycles, low humidity, high solar radiation, and the presence of salts
in the soils. A team of planetary scientists have recently reexamined
earlier work on cold Antarctic desert soils to better understand the
Martian near-surface environment and weathering processes.
more and More
The Atacama Desert is the most arid region on Earth.
It may also be the most lifeless. In the interior of the desert, rain
is measured in millimeters per decade and solar radiation is intense
because of the high altitude. But there is life where the desert meets
coastal mountains. Organisms have been discovered that survive on sunlight
and fog. Field investigation over three years will use a rover to make
long transects in the Atacama. The rover will support panoramic imagers,
microscopic imagers, spectrometers, as well as mechanisms for shallow
subsurface access. >>Read
More and News
||The Licancabur volcano (6,014 m) located at the boundary
of Chile and Bolivia hosts a lake that is amongst the highest and the least
explored lakes on Earth. The lake environment combines low-oxygen, low
atmospheric pressure, and high-UV radiation. Sediments are formed in volcanic
material. It is ice-covered most of the year, but the bottom water temperature
remains above freezing. These conditions make Licancabur a unique analog
to ancient Martian lakes and provides astrobiologists a way to explore
the past habitability and biological potential of Mars.
More and More and Lessons
A wide range of research projects were carried out within
an approximately two hundred kilometer radius of Arkaroola in the Australian
Outback, another Mars-like
location here on Earth. The goal of the
expeditions is to develop strategies and technologies that will support
a successful future human Mars mission. This expedition will culminate
in the selection of the precise site in the Arkaroola area for the
construction of MARS-OZ, one of the four Mars Analog Research Stations
planned worldwide. It will also lay the groundwork for future expeditions
and research by Mars Society Australia in the Arkaroola region.
High Desert of Utah
At the Mars Desert Research Station
(MDRS), teams of hard working volunteers, working in full simulation
mode in a painted desert located in the Morrison Formation of the Jurassic
Period (where many dinosyaur fossils are found), continue to explore
the surrounding terrain, cataloging more waypoints, and analyzing the geology
and biology of this fascinating and remarkably Mars-like region.
Rio Tinto, Spain
Studying the organisms of the Rio Tinto, a highly acitic, iron-rich river,
is teaching astrobiologists about the diversity of life that can survive
such extreme conditions. The river is also serving as an experimental
site for remote drilling, sample handling, and instrumentation
to help astrobiologists prepare for remote surveys of Mars.
||Aquarius, Underwater Habitat
If we go to Mars,the first thing we’re going to do is set
up camp. It’s like going camping; you’ve got to set up your
tent, you’ve got to find where the water supply is, you want to see
what natural resources are available. It’s the same thing with the
first couple of dives on a NEEMO mission. You learn the topography of the
reef, you take measurements with your compass, you take pictures, you write
on your slate, and you communicate that information back to the [mission
control center in Houston].
More and More and More
||Haughton-Mars Project (HMP)
The Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) is an international interdisciplinary
field research project centered on the scientific study of the Haughton
impact structure and surrounding terrain, Devon Island, High Arctic, viewed
as a terrestrial analog for Mars. The HMP is managed jointly by the Mars
Institute and by the SETI Institute. HMP-2006 is the 10th field season
of the HMP.
Not only does Devon island exhibit geological and glacial features which
resemble features found on Mars, its daytime temperatures are similar
to those of a "summer" day on Mars, and it is largely snow
and ice free in summer - some the Antarctic, another popular Mars analogue,
cannot offer so easily.
|| Laboratory in California
Rover engineers in JPL's In-Situ Instrument
Lab check how a test rover moves in material chosen to simulate some difficult
Mars driving conditions. The rover team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, Calif., has cooked up recipes combining various sandy and powdery
materials for the best simulation on Earth of the dune where Opportunity
dug itself in to wheel-hub depth.
Understanding microbial communities can give clues to how life shaped
the Earth billions of years ago -- and help find signs of life on distant
planets.NAI researchers study the microbes in the salt evaporation ponds
of a salt company in Baja California . Here, the microbes grow in dense
layers. When sliced through, the mat shows differently hued stripes descending
for several inches.