NASA Prepares For Future Mars Missions On Icelandic Lava Fields

NASA has been hard at work on the next Mars missions, and the US space agency has decided to run a new set of tests in an attempt to iron out any potential issues.

The Lambahraun lava field is situated at the base of the second-largest glacier in Iceland, which is known as Lanhjokull. The rich dunes, black basalt sand, and low peaks make it an excellent location for tests since it simulates some of the conditions which would present on the surface of the Red Planet.

A team of scientists and researchers sent by NASA spent three weeks at the site which is located at a distance of 100 kilometers (or 62 miles) from the capital of the country, Reykjavik. They worked on a prototype of a new rover. The new rover will continue the mission of Curiosity, which has spent seven years on the Red Planet, searching for signs of alien life and collecting valuable data, usable in the case of future missions towards the planet and in devising strategies for crewed initiatives.

NASA Prepares For Future Mars Missions On Icelandic Lava Fields

Many experts argue that the lava fields encountered in Iceland, which is a volcanic island floating in the northern area of the Atlantic Ocean, mimic the surface of Mars, so is ideal for NASA to prepare for future Mars missions.

Mission Control Space Services, a Canadian company, received the task to test a rover prototype which is a vital component of the SAND-E project (or Semi-Autonomous Navigation of Detrital Environments). The prototype rover is a relatively-small vehicle powered by electricity. When it comes to looks, the rover has an orange chassis and white panels.

It moves with the help of a four-wheel-drive system accompanied by two motors and 12 miniaturized car batteries placed on the sides. Data collected from the tests infer that the rover s tougher than expected and more resistant to unexpected weapon events, including rain. If everything goes according to plan, the rover will beam valuable data to earth, allowing researchers to learn more about Mars.

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Benjamin Diaz

About the Author: Benjamin Diaz

Benjamin Diaz started working for Debate Report in 2017. Ben grew up in a small town in northern Ontario. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife a year later. Benhas been a proud Torontonian for the past 10 years. He covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for CTV News and the Huffington Post Canada.

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