Arctic new training ground for Mars exploration
Posted on Jul 30 2014 | IANS
Washington, July 30 : A team of NASA scientists is testing new equipment in Nunavut, the northernmost territory in Canada, to better equip themselves for exploring Mars.
Describing the island as a living laboratory, scientists say that like Mars, the high Arctic is perpetually cold and exposed to the elements.
The uninhabited island is a rocky polar desert marked by an ancient rock impact - a terrain similar to that of Mars.
The surface of Mars is very hostile. There is ultraviolet light and cosmic rays.
Nothing seems to be able to live on the surface of Mars.
"We do not even see fossils. Drilling might be the secret to accessing the parts of Mars that are better hosts for life," California-based scientist Pascal Lee who is heading NASA's Mars Institute said.
Lee and his team will test a robotic drill in Haughton Crater in the High Arctic.
It will be ideal to start looking to see how microscopic life forms might survive the elements by living underground, CBC News reported.
Lee's team is also testing a new vehicle system, which will see astronauts driving two separate rovers in tandem.
They are trying to work out the best way for future explorers to the Red Planet to drive on Mars.