A new research project capable of greatly expanding mankind’s knowledge and understanding of Mars analog studies and possible implications for a humans-to-Mars mission was announced recently in the United Kingdom. The project, to be known as ‘White Mars’, will use a historic 2,000 mile trans-Antarctic winter expedition as an outdoor laboratory to test how extreme and remote environments affect human physiology, providing important insight into the challenge of sending humans to the Red Planet.
The Standard Chartered Trans-Antarctic Winter Traverse (TAWT) is scheduled to take place between December 2012 and March 2014. Consisting of a six person international crew, the expedition will carry out human science testing across the southern continent during the harsh winter months. TAWT would represent not only the first research of its kind in using a polar trek as a Mars analogue environment, but also provide one of the most reliable space analog studies to date.
The two year mission will focus on a variety of analog research, including:
The Mars Society and ‘White Mars’ organizers, including British doctor Alexander Kumar (a recent participant in the International Mars Society Convention in Pasadena), will partner in disseminating the details from the TAWT expedition, including ongoing progress reports, important research related to space studies and educational programming that will help bring the Mars analog mission to educators and students in the U.S. and around the world.
Commenting on the new project, Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin said, "The ‘White Mars’ expedition is a bold move that will add significantly to our understanding of how to deal with the challenges of human exploration of the Red Planet. The Mars Society is delighted to part of this terrific project."