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Imagine astronauts on Mars, tasked with picking rock samples that will be used by scientists to search for signs of life. But they can only transport a limited number back to Earth. What should they look for? Are some types of rocks better than others? They could try to ask for advice from the team of geologists and biologists back on Earth, but due to the distance between Earth and Mars it could take roughly 40 minutes before they would receive a response.
This isn't practical when time outside of the spacecraft can only last for a few hours.
Humans - Mars - Explorers - Support - Science
When humans are sent to Mars, it is important that these explorers have the support needed to help them do the best science possible.
How do we explore and do good science given necessary operational constraints? This is an important question that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and other space agencies, including the Canadian Space Agency, are interested in answering. Analogue missions on Earth help researchers understand how to do their jobs while faced with the many challenges that arise because of the hostile environment of space.
Biologic - Analog - Science - Associated - Lava
The Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains (BASALT) research program explores and collects samples from places on Earth that are analogous to Martian environments. Building off similar previous analogue studies in Canada and the U.S., the BASALT program operates under simulated Mars mission conditions. Merging scientific, technical and operational research objectives, the insights gained during two major analogue mission deployments are detailed in a special issue of the journal Astrobiology.
An overview of McMaster University’s BASALT Project.
Human - Exploration - Mars - Rovers - Rover
Human exploration of Mars adds in a dynamic that doesn't exist when using rovers. Unlike a rover, a human can make decisions and respond to new unexpected discoveries during an extravehicular activity (EVA). This flexibility is valuable for scientific discovery...
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