Nov 09, 2016 07:00 AM EST

Science News: NASA Update: Mission To Mars Simulation Sets In Hawaii

By FG Dullin

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration reveal another development for the monumental "Mission to Mars." NASA has chosen the Hawaiian island of Mauna Ulu and the field simulation is scheduled to start within this week.

The Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains (BASALT) is commissioned by NASA to conduct the research at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This project is designed to carry out an accurate set of trials in preparation for the future manned landing on the Red Planet.

NASA states in a report published by NBC 26 that the principal goal of the "Mission to Mars" is to discover extraterrestrial life. An astronomer at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, John Hamilton, accentuates this point in an interview.

The possibility of encountering sentient life form might be a remote likelihood. However, a successful space exploration of this magnitude warrants a certain degree of optimism.

The "Mission to Mars" is an enormous enterprise that entails a protracted, albeit temporary, occupancy duration for field scientists. An article published by Nature World News states that the mission is not exclusively limited to its principal objective. Another great importance lies in the possibility of finding alien micro-fossils.

In line with this, NASA has also successfully developed a model instrument that allows them to detect and gather pure samples on Martian terrain. They call this device the Bio-indicator Lidar Instrument.

Prior to the BASALT training, NASA has already conditioned their team of astronauts to live in a simulated Martian environment. From August of 2015 to August of 2016, the crew lived in a dome together without direct access to fresh food and fresh air.

Searching for alien microorganisms might also answer another important question: Is it possible to change the Red Planet's ecology. Through artificially-induced climate change, Mars could gradually transform into a habitable planet after a few centuries. 

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