NASA to prepare Mars mission in Iceland

Dr. Jennifer Heldmann explained NASA's interest in Iceland at a ...

Dr. Jennifer Heldmann explained NASA's interest in Iceland at a lecture at the University of Reykjavik. mbl.is/Arnþór

A NASA research team is now exploring Icelandic conditions for research to be conducted to plan missions to Mars and other planets in the future. 

This was revealed by Doctor Jennifer Heldmann and Doctor Darlene Lim from NASA this morning at a lecture at the University of Reykjavik on human spaceflight programmes and robot spaceflight programmes. If all goes according to plan this research in Iceland will begin next year. 

Mars, the red planet.

Mars, the red planet. AFP

In her lecture, Heldmann said that NASA scientists had been looking to Iceland for a long time and that their team is already looking into environmental conditons in Iceland. The group of scientists that will go to Iceland for research are from a wide span of expertise. 

The area around Mount Esja, here seen from Reykjavik, is ...

The area around Mount Esja, here seen from Reykjavik, is apparently very similar geologically to Mars. mbl.is/Rósa Braga

The point of experimenting and research in difficult conditions on Earth help to develop methods to research other planets or moons. The first priority is to research methods to be used for missions to Mars. 

Heldmann furthermore said that there are many canyons, crevasses and rifts in Iceland that are very similar geologically to those found on Mars. 

mbl.is/Gunnlaugur

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