A NASA research team are evaluating conditions in Iceland for conducting research aimed to facilitate the exploration of other plants, mbl.is reports. Dr Jennifer Heldmann and Dr Darlene Lim of NASA delivered a lecture this morning at Reykjavík University focused on space exploration with both manned expeditions and robotic spacecraft. The two are in Iceland on behalf of NASA to investigate whether the country could prove a good testing ground for space technology and equipment for expeditions to Mars and other planets. Depending on the outcome, research could start as early as next year.
Heldmann stated NASA has scientists have long been waiting to come to Iceland and hope to conduct research in the country in the near future. The research aims to develop methods for conducting research in difficult conditions on other planets or the moon and would be similar to research NASA has carried out in the Mojave Desert and the South Pole.
Lim stated the group intends particularly to research methods that could be used on an exhibition to Mars, while Heldmann remarked that Iceland’s canyons, fissures, and crevasses are geologically similar to the surface of the red planet. She mentioned both Esja mountain and Reynivallaháls, both located just north of Reykjavík, as possible areas where research could be carried out.