Earth Mars Cave Detection, 2011 Mojave Desert Expedition

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Earth Mars Cave Detection, 2011 Mojave Desert Expedition

Postby jutwynne » Mar 23, 2011 2:15 pm

Earth Mars Cave Detection Project, 2011 Mojave Desert Expedition (10-15 April 2011)

We are seeking volunteers to assist with thermal and visible imagery collects and ground-based data and instrument recovery as part of the Earth-Mars Cave Detection Project. This work is supported by NASA’s Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology Program. Work in the Mojave will mark the culmination of a three-year effort to characterize thermal behavior of terrestrial caves to identify optimal detection times using thermal infrared imagery and ground-based measurements. We have been studying five caves and four shallow cave like features in the Mojave Desert, CA. We are collecting temperature and barometric pressure data loggers collecting hourly data, and these instruments are deployed on the surface and throughout the length of each of our study features.

Ground-crew: We will be collecting thermal imagery from a NASA-Dryden B-200 aircraft from 11 through 13 April. We’ll be collecting thermal and visible imagery on the afternoon of 11 April, pre-dawn thermal imagery will be collected on 12 April. 13 April is currently a contingency operations day in the event that weather or aircraft issues prevent us from flying on one of the scheduled days. We are looking for a ground crew of between 5 to 10 people who can can be spread out across the lava flow and serve as ground markers while we are collecting the imagery. During the day, they will need to wear bright colored clothing. At night, they will ignite emergency road flares.

Data and Instrument Retrieval: Once overflights are complete, we will be removing all instruments from our study caves from 13 through 15 April. We need at least two people to assist with this effort. Volunteers must be physically fit and must be either experienced cavers, rock climbers or mountaineers to participate in this work; there are no exceptions for these requirements.

Ground crew will be needed from 10 - 13 April; Data and Instrument Recovery personnel will be needed from 13-15 April.

10 April Travel to Barstow, CA/ Camping Area near Mojave National Preserve
11-12 April Overflights/ Ground Crew deployed
13 April Contingency Operations for Overflights
13-15 April Pull data and instruments from all caves
15 April Travel (Afternoon)

Accommodations: All volunteers will be responsible for their own accommodations. Volunteers may wish to camp at the site and there is a large unpaved parking lot where we have camped in the past. Conditions in the Mojave will be quite comfortable this time year. Also, there are hotel accommodations in both Ludlow and Barstow, CA.

Food and Water: All volunteers will be required to have their own food and water during this project.

Ground Crew for overflights: Helmets and headlamps will be required when working on the lava flow at night. All volunteers must have their own helmets, headlamps, back-up lights and extra batteries while working on the flow.

Data and Instrument Retrieval: If assisting with the data and instrument retrieval portion of this mission, a complete packing list will be provided—at a bare minimum, all personnel working in caves will need a helmet, at least 3 sources of light, extra batteries, gloves, elbow and knee pads, personal first aid kit, emergency blanket, water, and food.

Please contact Jut Wynne at if interested.
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