Fieldwork

FINESSE team completes first field deployment to Craters of the Moon, Idaho
FINESS KB-COM

NASA’s FINESSE (Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science & Exploration) completed the project’s first field deployment in July 2014. FINESSE team members conducted field work at Craters of the Moon (COTM) National Monument and Preserve in July 2014. COTM is a being used as a terrestrial analog to study volcanic constructs with similarities to […]

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Paviion Lake Research Project completes field deployment to Pavilion Lake, BC
Pavilion Lake Outland Second Pass

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. The field program involved a tightly integrated science and exploration program. Field research involved joint human and robotic underwater activities, which served to: 1) broaden our understanding of the driving factors […]

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Exploring Earth’s alien spaces
Nathalie Cabrol

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. “Later,” Cabrol says with a laugh, “my toys became more elaborate and complex.” Today she […]

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United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)
Spaceward Bound Visits the UAE

Research in the United Arab Emirates has focused on studying life in this extreme environment. Scientists collected data to correlate microbial life, moisture content, and the presence of nitrates and perchlorate as the surface transitioned from coastal tidal flats in the north, gravel plains near the eastern mountains along the Oman border, and salt marshes, […]

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Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

Spitsbergen (Svalbard) island, located north of Norway, is used as a Mars analog environment. Some of the northernmost springs are found on Spitsbergen and scientists study these systems to understand liquid water flows in ambient subfreezing temperatures. Research is also conducted on the periglacial landscapes by studying the geomorphology of the region to understand past […]

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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. Bacteria that are present in the very acidic Rio Tinto play […]

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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. […]

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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. […]

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NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations)
NEEMO

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. Ames scientists support NEEMO through Science Backroom activities to help plan, coordinate, and execute scientific investigations […]

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NASA Desert RATS (Research and Technology Studies)
NASA Desert RATS

Desert-RATS is a field campaign which conducts mission rover and extravehicular activity testing in the challenging and remote terrain of Arizona. Ames scientists have participated in Desert RATS as members of the Science Backroom team which is responsible for the strategic and tactical science planning and operations for the field test. This work is aimed […]

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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. This work helps researchers understand the connection of life to liquid water since […]

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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. Scientific fieldwork in planetary geology, astrobiology, geology, climate change, and issues of temperature and solar inundation and radiation are […]

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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. […]

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Mars Desert Research Station, Utah
Mars Desert Research Station

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. […]

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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. These attributes make Licancabur an […]

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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. These snows are also colonized by snow algae and scientists are studying the habitability of the snow in order […]

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Lake Untersee, Antacrtica
Lake Untersee, Antarctica

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. Lake Untersee is used […]

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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 […]

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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. Biopreservation is expected to be relatively low in the active layer but below this zone the preservation of organics is increased due to the […]

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FIDO rover testing
FIDO

FIDO is a high-fidelity terrestrial rover, the FIDO rover, that focuses on a tight coupling of engineering, science, instruments, and operations. FIDO was operated at Silver Lake (California), Black Rock Summit (Nevada), and Grey Mountain (Arizona). The people, hardware and software tools transitioned from the FIDO rover technology team to multiple Mars flight surface mission […]

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Australia
Australia

Fieldwork in Australia has focused on two regions: 1) the Arkaroola site in South Australia and 2) the Pilbara in Western Australia. Arkaroola is located in the Australian Outback and is scientifically interesting for studying life in an extremely dry environment. Research has also been conducted on human factors, spacesuit, and technology testing for future […]

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Eureka, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada
Eureka

Work on Ellesmere Island has focused on astrobiology technology development of a low power, lightweight deep drill at a site of astrobiology interest. Scientific investigation focuses on micro-organisms within sandstone outcrops and the exploration of deep permafrost to understand the limits of life in cold environments. […]

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Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada
Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada

Axel Heiberg Island is home to a unique perennial saline spring system with liquid water flows existing year-round, even as air temperatures drop below freezing. Scientists are studying these springs as an analog for Mars where liquid water could possible also exist despite cold air and ground temperatures. Researchers are also studying the unique microbiology […]

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Atacama Desert, Chile
Atacama Desert, Chile

The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on Earth and an excellent location to study life in such an extreme environment. Astrobiology research in the Atacama may provide the best terrestrial analog for studies of martian soils. Ames scientists have been studying many aspects of the Atacama including microbial distributions, salt concentrations, geomorphology, […]

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Dry Valleys, Antarctica
Dry Valleys, Antarctica

The Dry Valleys of Antarctica are some of the most Mars-like places on our planet due to the extremely cold and dry conditions. Ames scientists visit the Dry Valleys to conduct scientific investigations of the nature and distribution of snow and ice as well as the habitability of these extreme valleys where life thrives even […]

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Testing Science Performance in a Planetary Surface Space Suit
CHaberleSpaceSuit

Performing scientific research work in a space suit is one of the major challenges of future human exploration of Planetary surfaces. The work reported in this highlight aims to better characterize the science task performance impacts of wearing a space suit. Ames scientists Carol Stoker, Marybeth Willhelm, and Christopher Haberle (SST), in collaboration with University […]

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Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition
David Bish

David Blake and Tori Hoehler, of ARC’s Exobiology Branch, are participating in the Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) 2006 using it as a Mars test-bed for CheMin (A Miniaturized Simultaneous X-ray Diffraction/X-ray Fluorescence Instrument) which will fly on MSL 2009, along with a suite of other instruments. Blake and Hoehler are operating CheMin (for […]

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Volcanic Lakes at Licancabur
Nathalie Cabrol in the Andes

Nathalie Cabrol and her team go to the Andes mountains to dive in the volcanic lakes at Licancabur at 20,000 feet (See http://www.eventscope.org/highlakes/field/journal/ for more information and images.) […]

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