Photographer's Note

This is a picture taken in the Krafla geothermal area.

Iceland has long been regarded as an extra-terrestrial analogue: in the 1960s, NASA astronauts preparing to go the Moon as a part of Project Apollo trained in Iceland; more recently, senior NASA scientists have used Iceland as a research base for planning robotic missions to Mars, and for decades, volcanologists and geologists have studied the geology of Iceland and compared it with many similar and unique features imaged on the surface of Mars.

The Krafla region is an ideal location for a Mars Analogue Research Station because it brings together all the requirements we need to conduct meaningful research in living and working on Mars - research that will contribute to the success of the first human missions to Mars.

Given around one third of the surface of Mars has been formed by volcanic activity - some of it possibly as recent as 100,000 years ago - and the benefits in using Krafla can be put into context. Further, While Mars does have a weather system, with seasonal dust storms, the weather is not dynamic and has minimal effect as a mechanism for shaping and changing the lava fields of Mars - so apart from a few thousand years of dust, the volcanic regions of Mars can be said to be relatively pristine.

And this is exactly the case with Krafla. The location of periodic curtain eruptions every 300 years or so, the region experienced its last major upheaval between 1975 and 1984. This is so recent that it has also been little affected by erosion or weathering since the lava formed, and it is almost entirely stripped of vegetation - another essential characteristic of the Martian surface.

Galeota, triptych2003, shal, JonteW, alentejo has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Michel Detay (mdetay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 485 W: 1 N: 1031] (4881)
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