Scientific Field Exploration – Lessons from Earth, for the Human Exploration of Mars

Main Stage

Delays, for better or for worse, are a general part of life. We all manage through them as best we can, and work to mitigate their impact on our well-being and overall productivity. But what if you are an astronaut, 225 million kilometers from Earth, conducting science on Mars, and your link to Earth includes a 15 minute one-way communications delay you must always contend with? The Pavilion Lake Research Project and the BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains) NASA funded research programs integrate real (non-simulated) scientific field activities with simulated time-delayed communications experiments in order to assess the impact of these latencies on scientific productivity, operational concepts and software capabilities in support of human missions to deep space. The PLRP and BASALT research programs involve scientists, engineers, astronauts from around the world, and a variety of exciting field sites ranging from the depths of unexplored Canadian lakes, to the volcanic fields of Hawaii and Idaho, all with an eye towards deep space exploration.