Death Valley Natl. Park encompasses some of the most extreme environments on the planet. For decades, planetary scientists have come here for research and instrument testing.
We are organizing the first ever Death Valley National Park planetary analog festival, titled the Mars and the Mojave Festival – Exploring Extremes on Earth and Beyond.
This pioneer three-day public event, scheduled for March 9-11, 2012 is co-sponsored by NASA Ames Research Center, the Death Valley National Park, the SAM Team at NASA Goddard, and the SETI Institute.
The event will feature scientist- and National Park Service interpreter-guided field trips to analog sites, evening keynote speakers and panels, star-gazing, and an al fresco expo including mini-rover demonstrations and a 1/10th-scale model of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover.
Representatives and investigators from Ames Research Center and other NASA centers, non-profits, and universities conducting work in the field will present results from their projects to the public.
One goal of the Festival is to raise public awareness about planetary analog and astrobiology research taking place on Earth, as well their relevance to planetary missions, including MSL. The NASA Mars Science Laboratory was successfully launched on November 26, 2011 and will to land on Mars August 2012 to help determine if this red planet has ever supported, or can currently sustain, any life - as we know it - sometime during its past.
Death Valley National Park boasts several planetary analog research sites within its boundaries and is excited share with its visitors this little known, but extremely important, use of our public lands.
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