in Space

Mine craft for Mars

Posted 23 October 2017 · Add Comment

If there are habitable conditions on Mars they may be underground, so scientists from around the world are now testing how to search for life in extreme environments by venturing a kilometre beneath the surface in a UK mine and have been joined by ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer.



Above: Sample collection.
Copyright UK Centre for Astrobiology


For two weeks, nearly 30 scientists and instrument specialists are venturing deep below for the fifth Mine Analogue Research sortie.

“Some of the most exciting places for planetary exploration are way below our feet,” noted Charles Cockell, head of the UK Centre for Astrobiology. 

One day, explorers could live underground in lava tubes or caves in the Moon and Mars because they offer ideal environments for human outposts.

Just like some regions of the Red Planet, the Boulby mine in northeast England features brines that could host microbial life.

“I did not imagine that highly concentrated salt solutions could be a good place to start searching for traces of life,” remarked Matthias from underground.

“These features are completely new to me. There is so much you can learn on Earth about other planets.”

Down in the mine, Matthias is using life-detection equipment, drills and cameras for robotic and human exploration.

One of his tasks is to follow the performance of a robotic hammer that could one day be part of a Mars rover. It would help to sample a hostile planetary surface, exposing fresh surfaces for the search of life.

There are some ‘guests’ from ESA’s ExoMars mission that is gearing up for landing a rover on the Red Planet in 2020. The prototypes of a high-resolution camera and a package of sensors to measure water vapour are also exploring the deep darkness.

 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Restrata appoints new head of consultancy

Security, safety and emergency response solutions provider, Restrata, has appointed a new head of consultancy to lead the organisation’s continued growth and international expansion.

JJ Churchill reduces machining ops by half

Aerospace engineering firm JJ Churchill today announced that it has reduced its tooling costs by 5% with a 50% reduction in the number of machining operations on a specific critical part, achieved with Blue Photon technology which is

Ultra Long Range A350 XWB completes first flight

The Ultra Long Range version of the A350 XWB, MSN 216, has successfully completed its first flight.

Defence Secretary announces £80m Guardian to protect the skies

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) will invest up to £80 million in a new computer system to boost the RAF’s speed and accuracy in protecting the skies, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced.

SEA supplying TLS to navies in South East Asia

Cohort company SEA is supplying its Torpedo Launcher Systems (TLS) to three South East Asian navies that have signed up for a solution based on technology originally developed for the UK Royal Navy.

Bristol Airport and SWRnewstar win Waste2Zero award

SWRnewstar has won the Waste2Zero Best Waste Project Communication & Stakeholder Engagement Award in partnership with its customer Bristol Airport.

ODU SK191217191218
See us at
FIL18 BT111017220718SMI FAVWSBT1402060618SMI HelicopterTBT1402240518