Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Arctic Crater Expedition To Seek Mars Science Insights And Test Future Exploration Technologies

Date:
June 17, 1998
Source:
National Aeronautics And Space Administration
Summary:
NASA scientists soon will explore a barren Arctic meteorite impact crater to attempt to learn more about Mars and its early history, while testing technologies useful for future robotic and human exploration of the planet.

NASA scientists soon will explore a barren Arctic meteorite impact crater to attempt to learn more about Mars and its early history, while testing technologies useful for future robotic and human exploration of the planet.

Related Articles


From June 22 to July 26, a 20-member science team from NASA and several other research organizations will explore the Haughton Impact Crater and its surroundings on Devon Island in the Arctic Circle.

Scientists consider the site a potential Mars analog because many of its geologic features, such as the crater's ice-rich terrains, its ancient lake sediments and nearby networks of small valleys, resemble those reported at the surface of Mars. The site may shed light in particular on the early history of Mars, when the planet's climate may have been wetter and warmer.

"The cold, relatively dry, windy and unvegetated environment at the Haughton site is milder and wetter than present-day Mars, but it may give us an idea of what early Mars was like and how some of its surface features were formed," said Principal Investigator Dr. Pascal Lee of NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA.

During the expedition, Dr. Omead Amidi and other engineers from Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, will conduct field tests of an experimental, robotic helicopter. "The mission provides a great opportunity to demonstrate the feasibility and the value of robotic aircraft for mapping and surveying applications," Amidi said.

Carnegie Mellon's small, 160-pound autonomous helicopter has vision-based stability and position control, as well as an onboard navigation computer, laser rangefinder and video system for site mapping. More information about the unpiloted helicopter may be found at the following website: http://www.ri.cmu.edu/project/chopper

In addition to the tests with the autonomous helicopter, scientists also will conduct experiments with a ground-penetrating radar system, a field spectrometer, drilling equipment and a stereo camera.

The radar system will be deployed in an attempt to map ground-ice and other subsurface conditions within and outside the crater's 12-mile (20-kilometer) diameter. "The ability to find underground ice, both for human consumption and geologic studies, will be critical in the exploration of Mars," said Dr. Aaron Zent of Ames, Dr. Lee's post-doctoral research advisor.

Scientists will use a field spectrometer to determine the site's reflective qualities and better understand the crater's compositional evolution. In another experiment, scientists will use a portable drill to obtain core samples from ten feet deep in the frozen ground. Core samples of sediments from a lake that once occupied the crater will provide information about local climate evolution. Since the use of liquid drilling lubricants might be precluded on Mars, none will be used in this test.

A portable stereo camera system previously used by Carnegie Mellon's Nomad rover during its unprecedented 133-mile wheeled trek through Chile's Atacama Desert last summer will provide high-resolution images of the site, and produce images for a 360 degree photo-realistic virtual reality project being developed by Ames' Intelligent Mechanisms Group.

Using laptop computer systems and "mobile workstations" developed by Ames' Intelligent Mobile Technologies Team, scientists will communicate with other field team members and send live images via a wireless link. Team members will operate from a base camp on a terrace of the Haughton River within the crater's perimeter and explore the site with All-Terrain Vehicles. Supplies will be brought in by Twin Otter airplane, while a helicopter will aid exploration of remote sites.

As part of the expedition's educational outreach program, the following website will be updated regularly with new data and images as available: http://www.arctic-mars.org

The total cost of the project is $80,000. NASA is partially funding the project through a National Research Council grant. Additional support is provided by Ames Research Center; NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX; the Geological Survey of Canada; the Polar Continental Shelf Project of Canada; the Nunavut Research Institute, Canada; the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University; NovAtel Communications, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and the National Geographic Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Aeronautics And Space Administration. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Aeronautics And Space Administration. "Arctic Crater Expedition To Seek Mars Science Insights And Test Future Exploration Technologies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980617071512.htm>.
National Aeronautics And Space Administration. (1998, June 17). Arctic Crater Expedition To Seek Mars Science Insights And Test Future Exploration Technologies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980617071512.htm
National Aeronautics And Space Administration. "Arctic Crater Expedition To Seek Mars Science Insights And Test Future Exploration Technologies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980617071512.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Italy's first female astronaut safely docks with the International Space Station, according to NASA. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins