From 9–23 August, 40 scientists and engineers involved in Mars exploration took part in the Arctic Mars Analogue Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) 2009 in the Svalbard archipelago, Norway, organized by Hans Amundsen (EPX Expedition lead) and Andrew Steele (Carnegie Institution Science lead).
The scientific goal of AMASE is to study the geology, geophysics, biosignatures, and life forms that can be found in volcanic complexes, warm springs, subsurface ice, and sedimentary deposits considered good analogues to sites on ancient Mars. This work was carried out using instruments, a rover, and techniques that will/may be used in future planetary missions, such as NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) or ESA’s ExoMars.
While the expedition was underway, researchers lived and worked either in a research station in Ny Alesund or on board the R/V Lance, a 60m research vessel. This ship is run by the Norwegian Polar Institute and is operated primarily in Arctic and Antarctic waters. Part of the campaign received helicopter support to deploy field teams and equipment and exchange teams between the R/V Lance and Ny Alesund.
This year, the ExoMars PanCam team, supported by the EC FP7-SPACE Project PRoVisG, participated for the second year with a PanCam demonstrator (ExoMars teams were invited by ESA, under Prodex funding). Main field campaign objectives were to perform stand-alone as well as integrated ExoMars instrument deployments with the objective to:
- investigate the utility of the ExoMars payloads to fulfill their science goals
- test instrument performance, operations and science goals
- develop protocols for sample targeting by a remote science team.