Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 – 24 September 2021
Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 September – 24 September 2021
EPSC Abstracts
Vol. 15, EPSC2021-868, 2021
European Planetary Science Congress 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

BASALT – A Science-Based Mars Con-Ops Astronaut Field Simulation"

John Hamilton
John Hamilton
  • Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, University of Hawai`i at Hilo.

BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains: ConOps Development for Future Human Exploration of Mars) was a 5-year NASA funded (PSTARS) analog mission study that sought to develop the requirements, protocols and associated technologies for human missions on Mars with the attendant Earth based support challenges (variable time-delay and bandwidth limitations) while maximizing the science return.

            BASALT was a  large (~50) team comprised of scientists (geologists, chemists, astronomers and biologists) with NASA astronauts, engineers, IT specialists and Human Factors. Its goal was to plan and operated a complete end-to-end human exploration mission on the Martian surface with simulation astronauts in a realistic high-fidelity science field environment.  This would occur with a communications infrastructure having a Mars base (real-time) and an Earth-based science backroom (with time-delays).  Concepts of operations, traverse planning, science sample site identification, “real-time” sample assessment from field instruments and concensus scientist evaluations, common sample collection protocols suitable for geology, geochemistry and astrobiology, along with time management and software tools to operate and document all aspects during the traverses.

            Field deployments of several weeks each were accomplished at the Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho (1) and at Hawaii Volcanos National Park in Hawaii (2).  A command center was created to house the Earth science team as well as a sequested Mars base.  Voice and telemetry communications were established to allow real-time (safety) and mission-time (delays) with several simulation astronauts in the field executing prospecting traverses.  Support personnel and situation awareness video accompanied the sim-astronauts.

How to cite: Hamilton, J.: BASALT – A Science-Based Mars Con-Ops Astronaut Field Simulation", European Planetary Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-868,, 2021.

Display materials

Display link Display file

Comments on the scientific presentation material

to access the discussion