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Testing a Mars science outpost in the Antarctic dry valleysField research conducted in the Antarctic has been providing insights about the nature of Mars in the science disciplines of exobiology and geology. Located in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of southern Victoria Land (160 deg and 164 deg E longitude and 76 deg 30 min and 78 deg 30 min S latitude), research outposts are inhabited by teams of 4-6 scientists. It is proposed that the design of these outposts be expanded to enable meaningful tests of many of the systems that will be needed for the successful conduct of exploration activities on Mars. Although there are some important differences between the environment in the Antarctic dry valleys and on Mars, the many similarities and particularly the field science activities, make the dry valleys a useful terrestrial analog to conditions on Mars. Three areas have been identified for testing at a small science outpost in the dry valleys: (1) studying human factors and physiology in an isolated environment; (2) testing emerging technologies (e.g. innovative power management systems, advanced life support facilities including partial bioregenerative life support systems for water recycling and food growth, telerobotics, etc.); and (3) conducting basic scientific research that will enhance understanding of Mars while contributing to the planning for human exploration. It is suggested that an important early result of a Mars habitat program will be the experience gained by interfacing humans and their supporting technology in a remote and stressful environment.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Andersen, D. T. (Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Co. Washington, DC, United States)
Mckay, C. P. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Wharton, R. A. (Nevada, University Reno, United States)
Rummel, J. D. (NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)
Date Acquired
August 15, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: Advances in Space Research
Volume: 12
Issue: 5, 19
ISSN: 0273-1177
Subject Category
Distribution Limits