Pascal Lee (SETI Institute and Mars Institute) (left) measures the bearing capacity of gravelly soil at Asteroid Hill, National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California, using a static cone penetrometer, while Kris Zacny (Honeybee Robotics) drives an anchor into the same material to evaluate the system’s design and performance. These field tests will help design surface exploration systems optimized for the exploration of Near-Earth Asteroids, Phobos, and Deimos. 14 April 2013.  (First Canyon Media).

Field Tests in Mojave Desert Pave Way for Human Exploration of Small Bodies

Press Release, Mountain View, California, 14 May 2013. A team of researchers from the SETI Institute, the Mars Institute, NASA Ames Research Center, and the space robotics company Honeybee Robotics, has successfully completed a first series of field tests aimed at investigating how humans will explore and work on Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and eventually the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos.

From 13 to 15 April 2013, field experiments were conducted at the U.S. Army’s National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, to evaluate geotechnical methods and systems that will enable humans to be productive explorers in the low gravity environment of small rocky bodies. Sub-kilometer sized NEAs, Phobos, and Deimos are among destinations currently considered by NASA for future human missions into Deep Space.

“Human missions to Near-Earth Asteroids and to the moons of Mars present us with the exciting challenge of exploring planetary bodies with extremely low gravity” says Pascal Lee, planetary scientist at the SETI Institute and leader of the field test. “The goal of our field test was to learn how to characterize the physical properties of small body surfaces, and to test ideas that might enable humans to more productively explore these low-gravity worlds.”

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Mars Institute Establishes European Branch in Norway

Stavanger, Norway, 28 Aug 2012. The Mars Institute, an international non-profit space research organization dedicated to the advancement of Mars science and exploration, announced today the establishment of a branch in Europe, with an office in Stavanger, Norway. The move marks an important step in the global expansion of the private space research organization that was first founded in the United States and Canada in 2002.

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Human Moon and Mars Exploration Simulated in Mojave Desert

An international team of researchers from the Mars Institute, in partnership with the SETI Institute, NASA Ames Research Center, Carnegie Mellon University, and U.S. aerospace companies Hamilton Sundstrand and Honeybee Robotics, has successfully completed a series of field tests aimed at investigating how humans will conduct geotechnical surveys on the Moon or Mars in advance of establishing more substantial surface infrastructures.

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Robotic Arm to Assist Future Astronauts in Sampling Asteroids, the Moon, and Mars from Pressurized Vehicles

Haughton-Mars Project Research Station, Devon Island, High Arctic, August 5, 2011 - An international team of space researchers from the Mars Institute and the space robotics company MDA Information Systems, Inc., has successfully completed a first series of field tests aimed at determining how future astronauts piloting a pressurized vehicle will be able to use a robotic arm to efficiently collect geologic samples on asteroids, the Moon, and Mars, without always needing to go out on spacewalks.

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