Spaceward Bound program in Atacama Desert

Press Release From: Ames Research Center
Posted: Monday, June 12, 2006


What are seven NASA Explorer School teachers doing in the Atacama desert in Chile? They are studying side-by-side with NASA scientists who search for life in extreme environments, closely approximating what they expect to find on other planets. Why the Atacama -- an inhospitable, seemingly lifeless, sun drenched spot that is probably the driest place on Earth?

This natural environment on Earth poses some of the same challenges for human explorers as would a seemingly lifeless planet. NASA scientists and engineers need this type of landscape to test technology that will hopefully be used in places like the Moon or Mars.

Join these seven teachers during an hour-long webcast, as they share with you this authentic field research experience with world-renowned planetary scientists living and working in this remote Moon/Mars analog research site. The ultimate goal is to leverage these field expedition experiences into classroom use and to spread the word throughout the nationwide Explorer School network and beyond.

The webcast from Yungay, Chile via satellite is scheduled for:

Wednesday, June 28

9:00 a.m. PDT, 12 noon local time in Chile and EDT, 4:00 p.m. GMT

Connection to the webcast with simultaneous transcription is at:

Image: Vivid colors belie the arid landscape of northern Chile where the Atacama Desert, one of the world's driest, meets the foothills of the Andes. Here salt pans and gorges choked with mineral-streaked sediments give way to white-capped volcanoes. For the high-resolution image, visit:

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