Scientific Analogs and the Development of Human Mission Architectures for Ocean and Space


NASA/Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid)

NASA/Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid)

October 3, 2017
9:30am — 10:30am ET

Speaker: Darlene Lim, NASA Ames

Analogs are destinations on Earth that allow researchers to approximate operational and/or physical conditions on other planetary bodies and within deep space. Over the past decade, select NASA teams have been conducting geobiological field science studies under simulated deep space and Mars mission conditions. Each of these missions integrate scientific and operational research with the goal to identify concepts of operations (ConOps) and capabilities that will enable and enhance scientific return during human and human-robotic missions to the moon, into deep space, and on Mars. Working under these simulated mission conditions presents a number of unique challenges that are not encountered during typical scientific field expeditions. However, there are significant benefits to this working model from the perspective of the human space flight and scientific operations research community. Specifically, by applying human (and human-robotic) mission architectures to real field science endeavors, we create a unique operational litmus test for those ConOps and capabilities that have otherwise been vetted under circumstances that did not necessarily demand scientific data return meeting the rigors of peer-review standards. This presentation will focus on two on-going NASA analog programs: BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains) and SUBSEA (Systematic Underwater Biogeochemical Science and Exploration Analog) research projects. These are multi-year programs dedicated to conducting field science research under simulated Mars mission conditions with the expressed goal of iteratively developing, implementing, and evaluating concepts of operations (ConOps) and supporting capabilities intended to enable and enhance human scientific exploration of Mars. 

About Darlene 

Darlene Lim is a geobiologist based at the NASA Ames Research Center, and actively involved in the development of operational concepts for human scientific exploration of our solar system. She is currently the Principal Investigator (PI) of the NASA BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains), SUBSEA (Systematic Underwater Biogeochemical Science and Exploration Analog), and PLRP (Pavilion Lake Research Project) research programs. She is also the Deputy PI of NASA SSERVI FINESSE (Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration). Her research programs are focused on seamlessly blending field science research with the development of human exploration tools, technologies and concepts that serve to directly inform various NASA Design Reference Missions. Darlene has served on a number of NASA MEPAG (Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group) committees and including as the MEPAG Goal IV (Prepare for Human Exploration) Co-Chair (2009-2015). She is currently a member of the NOAA Ocean Exploration Advisory Board (OEAB).

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