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Spaceward Bound Expedition: Australia 2009

July 13, 2009
From Jim Thompson

Science is being conducted on the ground and in the air during Spaceward Bound.

Over the Australian Outback Jim Thompson, The Explorers Club, took thermographic images of cave and karst features on July 12, 2009 as part of the NASA Spaceward Bound Australia Outback Expedition 2009. The Spaceward Bound Expedition in cooperation with the Australian Mars Society, combined scientists and teachers from the US and Australia teachers and are conducting real time research analog Mars exploration  in the Australian Outback.

Airborne thermography camera shot of site from air
Airborne thermography from a light plane over the Australian Outback while teachers on the ground were taking readings and placing large reflective banners on the ground to assist identification of the site from the air.

Jim sitting in door of small plane

Jim Thompson, a pioneer in the use of infrared thermography to locate cave and hot thermo underground springs, flew over areas near Arkaroola, Australia accompanied by teachers in the aircraft and others on the ground to research the use of airborne infrared pictures to locate thermo pools. 

Today Jim paid special attention to a thermal pool at Paralana Hot Springs. The pool is a natural radioactive hot spring and provided an excellent thermal gradient to test the procedure. Jim & team took thermographic pictures from a light airplane with  a bird’s eye view of the site while a group of teachers took measurements on the ground using thermometers and other instruments that will  be utilized to calibrate figures into the research. 

Initial results were extremely positive with a radio active hot pool being positively identified from an altitude of approx 1,500 feet.


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Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: April 2007
Teachers Contact: Liza Coe