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Subsurface scientific exploration of extraterrestrial environments (MINAR 5): analogue science, technology and education in the Boulby Mine, UK

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 July 2018

Charles S. Cockell*
Affiliation:
UK Centre for Astrobiology, SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Midlothian, UK
John Holt
Affiliation:
University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
Jim Campbell
Affiliation:
University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
Harrison Groseman
Affiliation:
University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
Jean-Luc Josset
Affiliation:
Space Exploration Institute, Neuchatel, Switzerland
Tomaso R. R. Bontognali
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Audra Phelps
Affiliation:
Spaceward Bound, NASA Ames Research Center, California, USA
Lilit Hakobyan
Affiliation:
Spaceward Bound, NASA Ames Research Center, California, USA
Libby Kuretn
Affiliation:
Spaceward Bound, NASA Ames Research Center, California, USA
Annalea Beattie
Affiliation:
RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
Jen Blank
Affiliation:
NASA Ames Research Center, California, USA
Rosalba Bonaccorsi
Affiliation:
NASA Ames Research Center, California, USA SETI Institute's Carl Sagan Center, California, USA
Christopher McKay
Affiliation:
NASA Ames Research Center, California, USA
Anushree Shirvastava
Affiliation:
NASA Ames Research Center, California, USA
Carol Stoker
Affiliation:
NASA Ames Research Center, California, USA
David Willson
Affiliation:
NASA Ames Research Center, California, USA
Scott McLaughlin
Affiliation:
UK Centre for Astrobiology, SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Midlothian, UK
Sam Payler
Affiliation:
UK Centre for Astrobiology, SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Midlothian, UK
Adam Stevens
Affiliation:
UK Centre for Astrobiology, SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Midlothian, UK
Jennifer Wadsworth
Affiliation:
UK Centre for Astrobiology, SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Midlothian, UK
Loredana Bessone
Affiliation:
European Astronaut Center, European Space Agency, Cologne, Germany
Matthias Maurer
Affiliation:
European Astronaut Center, European Space Agency, Cologne, Germany
Francesco Sauro
Affiliation:
University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Javier Martin-Torres
Affiliation:
UK Centre for Astrobiology, SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Midlothian, UK Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra (UGR-CSIC), Granada, Spain
Maria-Paz Zorzano
Affiliation:
Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Torrejon de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid, Spain
Anshuman Bhardwaj
Affiliation:
Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden
Alvaro Soria-Salinas
Affiliation:
Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden
Thasshwin Mathanlal
Affiliation:
Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden
Miracle Israel Nazarious
Affiliation:
Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden
Abhilash Vakkada Ramachandran
Affiliation:
Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden
Parag Vaishampayan
Affiliation:
Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
Lisa Guan
Affiliation:
Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
Scott M. Perl
Affiliation:
California Institute of Technology/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA Mineral Sciences, Los Angeles Natural History Museum, Pasadena, California, USA
Jon Telling
Affiliation:
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
Ian M. Boothroyd
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Newcastle, UK
Ollie Tyson
Affiliation:
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
James Realff
Affiliation:
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
Joseph Rowbottom
Affiliation:
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
Boris Laurent
Affiliation:
University of Aberystwyth, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, UK
Matt Gunn
Affiliation:
University of Aberystwyth, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, UK
Shaily Shah
Affiliation:
Kalam Center, New Delhi, India
Srijan Singh
Affiliation:
Kalam Center, New Delhi, India
Sean Paling
Affiliation:
Boulby Underground Laboratory, Boulby, UK
Tom Edwards
Affiliation:
Boulby Underground Laboratory, Boulby, UK
Louise Yeoman
Affiliation:
Boulby Underground Laboratory, Boulby, UK
Emma Meehan
Affiliation:
Boulby Underground Laboratory, Boulby, UK
Christopher Toth
Affiliation:
Boulby Underground Laboratory, Boulby, UK
Paul Scovell
Affiliation:
Boulby Underground Laboratory, Boulby, UK
Barbara Suckling
Affiliation:
Boulby Underground Laboratory, Boulby, UK
*
Author for correspondence: Charles S. Cockell, E-mail: c.s.cockell@ed.ac.uk

Abstract

The deep subsurface of other planetary bodies is of special interest for robotic and human exploration. The subsurface provides access to planetary interior processes, thus yielding insights into planetary formation and evolution. On Mars, the subsurface might harbour the most habitable conditions. In the context of human exploration, the subsurface can provide refugia for habitation from extreme surface conditions. We describe the fifth Mine Analogue Research (MINAR 5) programme at 1 km depth in the Boulby Mine, UK in collaboration with Spaceward Bound NASA and the Kalam Centre, India, to test instruments and methods for the robotic and human exploration of deep environments on the Moon and Mars. The geological context in Permian evaporites provides an analogue to evaporitic materials on other planetary bodies such as Mars. A wide range of sample acquisition instruments (NASA drills, Small Planetary Impulse Tool (SPLIT) robotic hammer, universal sampling bags), analytical instruments (Raman spectroscopy, Close-Up Imager, Minion DNA sequencing technology, methane stable isotope analysis, biomolecule and metabolic life detection instruments) and environmental monitoring equipment (passive air particle sampler, particle detectors and environmental monitoring equipment) was deployed in an integrated campaign. Investigations included studying the geochemical signatures of chloride and sulphate evaporitic minerals, testing methods for life detection and planetary protection around human-tended operations, and investigations on the radiation environment of the deep subsurface. The MINAR analogue activity occurs in an active mine, showing how the development of space exploration technology can be used to contribute to addressing immediate Earth-based challenges. During the campaign, in collaboration with European Space Agency (ESA), MINAR was used for astronaut familiarization with future exploration tools and techniques. The campaign was used to develop primary and secondary school and primary to secondary transition curriculum materials on-site during the campaign which was focused on a classroom extra vehicular activity simulation.

Type
Review Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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Footnotes

The online version of this article has been updated since original publication. A notice detailing the change has also been published

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