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Traveling to Mars in Hawaii?

Posted on April 21, 2016 by in The OFI Blog

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NASM Fellow Alexander Morgan in front of an alluvial fan

National Air and Space Museum (NASM) Fellow Alexander Morgan has been working with Geologist ┬áBob Craddock to better understand the landscape of Mars by exploring the Kau Desert on Hawaii’s Big Island, which offers a Mars-like surface.

The two have been investigating Mars-analogue alluvial fans and volcanic ash tephra. The basaltic rocks and lack of vegetation make the flank of the Kilaeua volcano one of the best sites to examine surface processes that have occurred on the surface of Mars. Getting rovers to the martian surface is difficult and expensive, so we use analogue sites like Hawaii to study processes in greater detail than we can do with orbital data.

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Exploring the Kau Desert