Simulating Mars Exploration

November 21, 2016

MarsAnalog_20161113_ARH-4858-1 (1)

Photographer: Andrew Hara (ENA Media)
Summary Author: John Hamilton
Shown above are the NASA BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrain) simulation astronauts with their field support team during a traverse to start a two-week Mars analog science and exploration mission. This photo was taken at Mauna Ulu, the Big Island of Hawaii, on November 12, 2016. These simulation astronauts are developing the geology and biology sampling protocols for future Mars astronauts as well as concepts of operations involving traverse planning and execution under time-delay and high/low communication bandwidth conditions. Principal investigator geobiologist Darlene Lim of NASA Ames Research Center is at left and exploration lead engineer Steve Chappell of NASA Johnson Space Center is at right.

Mauna Ulu serves as an analog to early Mars history when volcanism occurred during wet conditions, creating minerals that may also lead to clues for early microbial life. Majestic Mauna Kea (13,796 ft or 4,205 m) is in the center background, while the flank of Mauna Loa looms at left.

Photo Details: Camera Model: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II; Lens: EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM; Focal Length: 50mm; Aperture: ƒ/11.0; Exposure Time: 0.0063 s (1/160); ISO equiv: 100;Software: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6.7 (Macintosh).