HMP-2010: Nearing Peak in HMP Camp Activity – Daily Updates Commence!


This blog is courtesy of Haughton Mars Project (HMP)

For more information please visit


Two twin otter flights came in today with 10 participants total, including the K10 robot team lead by Dr. Matt Deans, supported by Dr Trey Smith, Dr Hans Utz, Susan Lee, Vinh To and Eric Park (all from NASA Ames), and Byron Adams and Kelsey Young (both from the Geology Dept. at Arizona State University). On the second flight was Peter Ikaluk from Resolute Bay and [yours truly] Elaine Walker (E/PO, Mars Institute).

The K10 robot team will be following up on work done during the 2009 field season by Dr Pascal Lee (Director, HMP / NASA Ames, Mars Institute, SETI Institute), Dr Mark Helper (Distinguished Senior Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin) and Dr Essam Heggy (Planetary Scientist, JPL). Last season they completed simulated lunar geological and geophysical traverses as part of their studies of robotic follow-up to human exploration, and of the efficiencies of pressured rover and EVA exploration.

Peter and Elaine’s flight landed at HumVee Beach where the Moon-1 Humvee Rover and supporting vehicles are parked. Elaine took pictures and video of the site while Peter and the two Ken Borek pilots loaded all four of the Humvee tracks onto the twin otter. They are quite heavy.

John Schutt (HMP camp manager) gave the new arrivals a tour of the HMP base camp and safety briefings, then lead the evening meeting in the mess tent. Jeff Fagen is our new camp cook. Jeff is from Vanouver, and so far he is a big hit. His food is excellent as well. He and John Schutt have additional support from Nathan Kalluk, Star Amurulak and Peter Ikaluk from Resolute Bay, and Terry Pijimini and Ben Audlaluk from Grise Fiord.

There are several research projects going on simultaneously including the ongoing Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse effort lead by Matt Bamsey (CSA), a space biology study led by Dr’s Robert Ferl and Anna-Lisa Paul (Univ. of Florida), the K10 robot team led by Dr Matt Deans, research on the immune system by Dr Valerie Myers from NASA JSC, as well as geology research by Dr. Pascal Lee and Kelsey Young, as part of her PhD thesis at ASU. Pascal and Kelsey hope to gain further understanding in the glacial evolution and geologic history of the Haughton impact structure, date the crater more accurately, and to learn more about the makeup and size of the impactor itself, using the geochemical trace that it left behind.

It was 6 celsius today with light rain. The mood is very high at camp and we look forward to a great season as we near the peak in camp population.

Please stay tuned for photos.

HMP-2010: A Productive Day with Friendly Weather


This blog is courtesy of Haughton Mars Project (HMP)

For more information please visit


 We had the usual 10:30AM Sunday brunch, which allows the cook and kitchen help to rest. As usual, John Schutt (HMP camp manager) was up early taking care of the camp.

 After brunch, Drs Robert Ferl and Anna-Lisa Paul (both faculty at the University of Florida) along with Kelsey Young and Byron Adams (both in the Geology Dept. at ASU), went to Drill Hill, Gemini Hills and Planet of the Apes Valley to conduct research, and were back in time for dinner. Their traverse was supported by Ben Audlaluk from Grise Fiord.

 The Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse team will be in operational mode tonight, running a two day test of the system where they won’t touch anything and just let it run. The two day operational mode will test the changes implemented this year as they get ready for their departure in a few days.

Hamilton Sundstrand’s new suit port concepts will be interfaced into the Mars-1 HumVee Rover again this season and tested in the next few weeks. The idea of suit ports is that rather than going through an airlock, one can step into the spacesuit through the backpack and be outside within minutes.

Led by Dr Matt Deans, the NASA Ames K10 robot team had a productive day. Vinh To set up the computer, Susan Lee got the K10 robot set up with help from Dr Hans Utz, Dr Trey Smith did the software checkout and Eric Park set up networking for the robot. The team ran some tests, moved the robot around and surprised passers by with the robot’s Pac Man sound cues.

 Dr Valerie Myers (NASA JSC) collected saliva samples this morning from some lucky volunteers. She is conducting a viral reaction study with the microbiology group at JSC. The idea is that during space flight an astronaut’s immune system is suppressed and the virus can be found being shed in the saliva. Outbreaks are rare, but it can be debilitating for long duration flights. The team wants to find out why it happens and learn how to keep it from happening.

Haughton Mars Project Sea-Ice Traverse Mission Update

This blog post is courtesy of the Haughton Mars Project (HMP).
To learn more about HMP go to

12 May 2010: Day 8 Status Update

The expedition is on its way again, with the goal of reaching the coast of Cornwallis Island today. The heavy snowfall will slow down the expedition but the crew members are happy to be on the move again. Weather conditions are slowly improving and the crew is very optimistic for the sea-ice crossing. After an evening check-in, the crew reports making some progress today.

Follow the expedition here!

11 May 2010: Day 7 Status Update

The Northwest Passage Drive Expedition continues to be on hold due to weather conditions, with large amounts of snowfall that has reduced visibility to less than one mile. The team continues to hold their position and wait until the weather and visibility improve.

Haughton Mars Project Sea-Ice Traverse Mission Update

This blog post is courtesy of the Haughton Mars Project (HMP).
To learn more about HMP go to

13 May 2010: Day 9 Status Update – Evening

Northwest Passage 2010 Drive Expedition has stopped for the night. The expedition is pausing six miles short of the Devon Island coast. While pausing, the crew will work on the Moon-1 Humvee and also get some rest. The heavy snowfall has been hard on the vehicle and also tiring for the crew members. The crew is well and looking forward to continuing the expedition tomorrow.

13 May 2010: Day 9 Status Update—Morning

Northwest Passage Drive Expedition 2010: The expedition is currently driving over the sea-ice of Wellington Channel. The recent heavy snowfalls are a cause of concern for the expedition, causing the expedition to drive slowly and also making it difficult to find the best path to take. The crew is in good spirits and enjoying the sea-ice traverse before they get back on solid land.

Haughton Mars Project Sea-Ice Traverse Mission Update

This blog post is courtesy of the Haughton Mars Project (HMP).
To learn more about HMP go to

16 May 2010: Day 12 Status Update — Late Night

The 2010 Northwest Passage Drive Expedition is pleased to announce the Moon-1 Humvee Rover’s arrival on the solid land of Devon Island. The crew will be settling down for the night soon, and everyone is happy to be on Devon Island.

16 May 2010: Day 12 Status Update – Evening

The 2010 Northwest Passage Drive expedition Moon-1 Humvee Rover is now fixed up and the crew members are on their way, finding the best route to the solid land of Devon Island. They aim to reach the coast tonight, where they will feel more secure resting overnight on solid ground.

16 May 2010: Day 12 Status Update — Morning

The Northwest passage Drive Expedition is currently working on the Moon-1 Humvee Rover, with parts brought back from HMPRS by John Schutt and Jesse Weaver. Visibility is still poor but the crew hopes to get to the coast of Devon Island later this evening.

Last night at 2220 CDT Mark Carroll was the first to spot a polar bear that was watching the Humvee Rover. The crew at the Moon-1 Humvee rover watched the polar bear for a couple hours until it went far away from the vehicle. The crew was never in any immediate danger but are happy to now have the parts necessary to fix the Moon-1 and continue on their way.

15 May 2010: Day 11 Status Update

The Northwest Passage Drive Expedition 2010 continues to pause on sea ice while poor visibility prevents the return of John Schutt and Jesse Weaver to the Moon-1 Humvee. Weather forecast remains poor for the next couple days but the crew is hoping for the best so the expedition can continue.

Haughton Mars Project Sea-Ice Traverse Mission Update

This blog post is courtesy of the Haughton Mars Project (HMP).
To learn more about HMP go to

17 May 2010: Day 13 Status Update — Late Night

The 2010 Northwest Passage Drive Expedition has reached Resolute Bay after the 13 day expedition. The crew will start flying south starting tomorrow, and are all happy to be returning home.

HMP Team

From left to right: Mark Carroll, John W. Schutt, Jean-Christophe Jeauffre, Jesse Weaver, Dr Pascal Lee (Expedition Leader), and Kira Lorber.

Haugton Mars Project – Sea-Ice Traverse Mission Completed

This blog post is courtesy of the Haughton Mars Project (HMP).
To learn more about HMP go to

Northwest Passage Drive Expedition – 2010: Completion

Moffett Field, CA and Vancouver, BC, 18 April 2010 – An international team of researchers led by Mars Institute scientist Dr. Pascal Lee successfully reached Devon Island, High Arctic, on Sunday, 16 May, 2010 after a 13-day, 150 km vehicular journey from Cornwallis Island to Devon Island, along the fabled Northwest Passage.

The Northwest Passage Drive Expedition team of six departed Resolute Bay, Nunavut, on 5 May aboard the Mars Institute’s Moon-1 Humvee Rover and two snowmobiles. After encountering several days of immobilizing snowstorms and extremely rough sea-ice conditions, the team finally reached the west coast of Devon Island late in the evening of 16 May.

Haughton Mars Project team

The Mars Institute’s Moon-1 Humvee Rover on solid ground at Domville Point, Devon Island, in the evening of 16 May 2010.
See more photos on Flickr.

“It’s both a great joy and a relief to get our Moon-1 onto solid ground on Devon Island” said Lee. “This final sea-ice crossing was quite a challenge, but we had a fantastic team and vehicle, and we just kept working at it”.

Accompanying Lee were Mars Institute crew members Joe Amarualik, John W. Schutt, and Jesse Weaver, and the Jules Verne Adventures documentary team comprising filmmaker Jean-Christophe Jeauffre and director of photography Mark Carroll.

The primary goal of the Northwest Passage Drive Expedition is to transfer the new Moon-1 to Devon Island, a location known to present unique scientific and operational similarities to the surface of the Moon and Mars. There, the rover will be used as a concept vehicle simulating future pressurized rovers to be driven by humans to explore other planetary bodies. The expedition is an integral part of the Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) on Devon Island where research in space science and exploration is being conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Mars Institute, the SETI Institute, and other partnering organizations.

Last year, Lee’s team logged a record-breaking drive of 494 km in the Moon-1 along a western section of the Northwest Passage, the longest distance ever driven on sea-ice in a road vehicle. This year, the team applied the same winning strategy to avoid the roughest areas of sea-ice along the Wellington Channel. It used a variety of radar satellite remote sensing data and its own surface reconnaissance by snowmobile to find the smoothest possible ice route between Abandon Bay, Cornwallis Island, and Domville Point, Devon Island, where the Moon-1 is now safely parked.

The next step will be to drive the Moon-1 overland to the Haughton-Mars Project Research Station on Devon Island later this summer, where it will be used to begin long-range dual pressurized rover exploration studies.

“The arrival of the Moon-1 on Devon Island ushers in a new phase in our space exploration work that will be critical to enabling humans to explore other worlds sooner, more safely, and more productively” remarked Lee.