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Google And NASA Haughton-Mars Project Partner On Moon/Mars Exploration Prep

Press Release From: Mars Institute
Posted: Monday, March 25, 2019

The Mars Institute and the SETI Institute are announcing a new partnership between Google and the NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) to advance Mars exploration at one of the most otherworldly places on Earth: Devon Island, in the High Arctic. The announcement is accompanied by the release of new Street View imagery; a Google Earth guided tour highlighting the Mars-like geology of Devon Island; and a documentary short captured at HMP on the Google Pixel 3.

“We are excited about this new partnership with Google on the Haughton-Mars Project and about the data products being released. They allow us to share with the world some of the Mars-like wonders of the site and the fieldwork that we do” says Dr Pascal Lee, planetary scientist with the Mars Institute and the SETI Institute, and director of the NASA HMP at NASA Ames Research Center. “ The NASA Haughton-Mars Project is a leading international Mars analog field research project centered on the Haughton meteorite impact crater site and surrounding terrain on Devon Island, Nunavut, Canada. As one of the most Mars- like places on Earth, the site is often referred to as Mars On Earth. Over its twenty-two years of history, the NASA HMP has made many contributions to the advancement of Mars science and exploration through field studies at the site.

In August 2018, a team from Google participated in the HMP’s 2018 summer field campaign as a new Education and Public Outreach partner on the project. The main objective for Google at HMP-2018 was to collect Street View imagery to allow Google Earth and Google Maps users to visit Devon Island virtually, and to create a Google Earth guided tour illustrating, via factual narrative, how Devon Island is so similar to Mars. In addition, a 10-minute documentary titled “Mars On Earth: A Visit to Devon Island” was produced. The video, shot entirely in HD using Google’s latest Pixel 3 smartphone, shows a sampling of the research activities carried out at the HMP over a 10-day period.

“We were very humbled by the opportunity to get a glimpse into the work planetary scientists are doing on Devon Island. Now we are thrilled to share the results of our time on the world’s largest uninhabited island with Google users,” says Katja Minitsenka, who is leading this effort within Google.

The Google documentary short takes viewers to the breathtaking “magnificent desolation” of Devon Island, and invites them to share in daily life at the Haughton-Mars Project Research Station (HMPRS), the project’s base camp. The HMPRS is currently the largest privately operated polar research station in the world, and the leading field research facility dedicated to the advancement of planetary science and exploration.

The video also captures some of the research being conducted at HMP during the 2018 field season, including flight tests and science application studies of NASA’s Mars Electric Reusable Flyer or MERF, an experimental aircraft for Mars exploration currently under development at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA.

“This new partnership between Google and the NASA Haughton-Mars Project, one of many groundbreaking research projects at the SETI Institute, is a beautiful example of how private industry and non-profits can come together to advance science, exploration, education, and public outreach,” says Bill Diamond, President and CEO of the SETI Institute. “Stay tuned for more in the near future.”


Google Documentary

Mars On Earth: A Visit to Devon Island

https://youtu.be/xzyOdH6OlV0


Google Earth Guided Tour

Mars on Earth

https://g.co/earth/devonisland


Google Street View highlights

Link 1: Astronaut Canyon

Link 2: Haughton Crater at View Hill

Link 3: Haughton-Mars Project Base Camp

Link 4: Von Braun Planitia: An Ancient Lake Bed

Link 5: Haughton Crater at Breccia Cliffs


For more information, contact:

Dr Pascal Lee

Director, NASA Haughton-Mars Project

Mars Institute & SETI Institute

NASA Ames Research Center

MS 245-3

Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000

USA

E-mail: pascal.lee@marsinstitute.net


Rebecca McDonald

Director of Communications

SETI Institute

189 Bernardo Ave, Suite 200

Mountain View, CA 94043

USA

E-mail: rmcdonald@seti.org

Tel: 650-960-4526


About Mars Institute

The Mars Institute is a non-profit research organization dedicated to the advancement of Mars science, exploration, and the public understanding of Mars. Research at the Mars Institute focuses Mars and other planetary destinations that may serve as stepping-stones to Mars, in particular Mars’ moons, our Moon, and near-Earth objects. The Mars Institute investigates the technologies and strategies that will enable and optimize the future human exploration of Mars. The Mars Institute operates the Haughton-Mars Project Research Station on Devon Island, High Arctic, currently the largest privately operated polar research station in the world and the leading field research facility dedicated to planetary science and exploration.

About SETI Institute

Founded in 1984, the SETI Institute is a non-profit, multi-disciplinary research and education organization whose mission is to explore, understand, and explain the origin and nature of life in the universe. Research at the SETI Institute encompasses the physical and biological sciences and leverages expertise in data analytics, machine learning and advanced signal detection technologies.  The Institute is a distinguished research partner for industry, academia and government agencies, including NASA and NSF.

The NASA Haughton-Mars Project is supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Cooperative Agreement NNX14AT27A with the SETI Institute.


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