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

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.

Defence Secretary checks progress of first City Class Type 26 frigate

The Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson MP, visited BAE Systems’ Clyde shipyards yesterday to gain an insight into the Company’s next generation digital ship design approach for the Type 26 frigates, before viewing the

Drukair opts for an A320neo

Drukair, the flag carrier of Eastern Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, has signed a purchase agreement for one A320neo to support its growth plans and complement its existing fleet of three A319s.

BA appoints Angela Williams as Group People Director

British Airways today announced that Maria Da Cunha, Group HR & Legal Director, is stepping down from British Airways after 17 years and Angela Williams is appointed to the role of Group People Director (joining the business on 4 June

Dnata awarded UK MHRA certification for Good Distribution Practice

Global air services provider and UK ground handler, dnata, has been awarded certification for Good Distribution Practice (GDP) by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (UK MHRA).

Air & Ground SK1704230718
See us at
SMI FAVWSBT1402060618FIL18 BT111017220718SMI HelicopterTBT1402240518