Fieldwork

FINESS KB-COM

FINESSE team completes first field deployment to Craters of the Moon, Idaho

NASA's FINESSE (Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science & Exploration) completed the project's first field deployment in July 2014.  
Pavilion Lake Outland Second Pass

Paviion Lake Research Project completes field deployment to Pavilion Lake, BC

NASA MMAMA (SMD) funded Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP) team completed the project’s first Phase 3 field deployment, which ran from June 12-27, 2014.
Nathalie Cabrol

Exploring Earth’s alien spaces

When Nathalie Cabrol was little,her grandfather gave her a pair of binoculars he had picked up as a soldier in Germany after the liberation of France. It was her first real glimpse at the wonders of the moon and stars.
Rover Zöe in the Atacama desert

Drilling our Way to Life on Mars – Rover-Mounted Drill Autonomously Explores Subsurface Life in the Atacama Desert, Chile

Whether life ever existed on Mars or was capable of surviving profound climate changes is still unknown, and is a central question to the upcoming Mars 2020 mission. Despite large aquifers predicted at depth and surface ice in the polar regions, most of Mars remains extremely arid.

United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)

Research in the United Arab Emirates has focused on studying life in this extreme environment. 

Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

Spitsbergen (Svalbard) island, located north of Norway, is used as a Mars analog environment. 

Rio Tinto, Spain

Rio Tinto, Spain

The Rio Tinto site is ideal for astrobiology research in an extreme acid environment that is a possible analog for the martian subsurface.  On both Earth and Mars, water and chemical energy could support (or could have supported) life in an acidic, anoxic environment.

RESOLVE field campaign, Hawaii

RESOLVE field campaign, Hawaii

NASA’s RESOLVE (Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen Lunar Volatile Extraction) project is aimed at developing and testing methods and protocols for in situ resource utilization.  Ames scientists are providing prospecting instrumentation for the field rover (neutron spectrometer and near-infrared spectrometer) and also developing tools and operational concepts for Science Backroom activities.

Pavilion Lake, Canada

Pavilion Lake, Canada

Pavilion Lake is a fascinating location where underwater explorers are studying unique microbialite structures to understand their formation and evolution through time.  This research is important for astrobiology but also the methods and protocols for exploring this remote, extreme environment are used to plan for exploration of the Moon, Mars, and asteroids.

NEEMO

NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations)

The NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) expeditions take place in an underwater laboratory called the Aquarius module located off Key Largo, Florida. NEEMO tests human and robotic exploration operations simulation and crew training techniques to support space exploration. 

NASA Desert RATS

NASA Desert RATS (Research and Technology Studies)

Desert-RATS is a field campaign which conducts mission rover and extravehicular activity testing in the challenging and remote terrain of Arizona. 

Namibia

Namibia

Research in Namibia has focused on characterizing life found in the extreme desert environment.  Scientists discovered microbial life under stones near the coast where moisture was provided by fog and farther inland between sand dunes, where a small amount of rainfall occurs. 

Mojave Desert

Mojave Desert

The Mojave Desert is a relatively inhospitable, parched, sun-drenched, desert in southern California.  This natural setting presents scientists with opportunities to study environments that are analogous to what explorers will find on the Moon and Mars. 

Haughton Mars Project (HMP), Canadian Arctic

Haughton Mars Project (HMP), Canadian Arctic

Research at HMP has focused on  astrobiology and geology research, human and robotic exploration technology development, and human and human/robot operations requirements definition.  Numerous Ames scientists have traveled to the Canadian Arctic to conduct planetary analog research at this site.

Mars Desert Research Station

Mars Desert Research Station, Utah

NASA Ames scientists have conducted multiple Mars mission simulations at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) near Hanksville, Utah.  Work at MDRS focuses on a variety of topics including technology testing, scientific research (geology and astrobiology), plus the study of human and robotic exploration.

Lincancabur, Chile

Lincancabur, Chile

The Licancabur volcano on the border of Chile and Bolivia hosts one of the world’s highest elevation lakes.  The lake environment has low oxygen levels, low atmospheric pressure and high UV radiation.  The lake is ice-covered most of the year but remains liquid and above freezing at the lake bottom. 

Lassen National Park, California

Lassen National Park, California

Located in northern California, Lassen National Park receives tens of meters of snow during the winter months.  Scientists have been studying the physical and environmental conditions within the snowpacks to understand snowpack evolution throughout the season. 

Lake Untersee, Antarctica

Lake Untersee, Antacrtica

Lake Untersee is an ice-covered lake in Antarctica. Scientists are studying this lake to understand the mass balance of water and ice to explain the physics underlying the lake’s existence. Stromatolites also exist on the lake bottom which resemble the structures of lifeforms known to have formed billions of years ago.
Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro

The summit soils of Kilimanjaro are among the most extreme on Earth in terms of their near-sterile nature, extreme freeze-thaw cycles, high ultraviolet radiation flux, low atmospheric pressure, and low nutrient content and water activity.  Despite these conditions, microbes are capable of surviving here.  Ames scientists are studying the microbiology of these Kilimanjaro soils as an analog for Mars to understand the tolerance limits of life.

Golden Deposit, Arctic Canada

Golden Deposit, Arctic Canada

Fieldwork at the Golden Deposit of the Fort Norman Region in the Canadian Arctic focuses on understanding the oxidation processes and the preservation of organic biosignatures in a permafrost dominated environment.