segunda-feira, 25 de junho de 2012

Exploring Mars in the Austrian Alps

In the largest ice caves on Earth, spacesuits and remote-controlled planetary rovers were for the first time tested in a five-day odyssey in the Alps designed to mimic potential future missions on Mars.  Scientists have long wanted to investigate Martian caves for life. Temperatures within such caves are very stable, and perhaps would be friendly to life. Caverns might also provide a more hospitable level of humidity than seen on the extraordinarily dry surface of Mars, and provide shelter against radiation from space.
"They would be a natural retreat for life, if it ever arose on Mars," said astrobiologist Gernot Grömer, president of the Austrian Space Forum, the agency that led the experiments in the caves. As such, researchers wanted to investigate caverns with space exploration gear to see how it handled the varied terrain within.  Read more.

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