Press Release

NASA Studies Earth’s High Arctic for Evidence of Life on Early Mars

By SpaceRef Editor
July 21, 2008
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MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. – Later this month, NASA’s Spaceward Bound program will send a team of scientists and teachers to explore the permanently frozen landscape of Axel Heiberg Island in the Canadian high Arctic.

During the July 25 to Aug. 2, 2008, expedition, scientists will challenge their minds in an extreme polar research environment as they map icy structures and study microbes that live in the permafrost. Scientists believe in its early history, Mars may have been home to life in places similar to Earth’s icy polar regions.

Spaceward Bound was developed by the Education Division at NASA’s Ames Research Center and is a key component of NASA’s goal to create engaging participatory educational activities. The expedition is a partnership of NASA, the Canadian Space Agency and McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The field activities are conducted with the support of the Canadian Polar Continental Shelf Project.

WHO: NASA Spaceward Bound Arctic expedition participants include:

– Chris McKay, NASA Ames planetary scientist, Spaceward Bound Expedition lead;

– Scientists and teachers from California, New York and Canada.

WHAT: An opportunity to interview scientists and high school teachers and students studying and exploring microbes living in the high Arctic permafrost.

WHEN: July 25 to Aug. 2, 2008.

Media interested in arranging telephone interviews should contact Rachel Prucey, Ames public affairs specialist, at 650-604-0643 by 4 p.m. PDT, July 31, 2008.

WHERE: McGill Arctic Research Station, Axel Heiberg Island, Canada.

For information about the NASA Spaceward Bound expedition to the high Arctic, visit:

For the most current expedition images, video and information, visit:

For more information on NASA and its programs, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.