The Space Exploration Initiative will contain many avenues for both space and terrestrial technology development and applications. In addition, the development of architecture independent technology will provide the first meaningful milestones as the overall program matures.
A factor in SEI technology will be the utilization of various earth based analogs as functional testbeds for hardware, software and operations development and verification. The most interesting of these proposed analogs involves the Antarctic programs managed by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The driver for Antarctic Planetary Analog is an increased awareness of potential impacts from the continued science and exploration operations to this unique environment. NSF is looking to the insertion of space technology to provide alternate sources for electrical power to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels; closed environmental support systems and habitats to improve the efficiency of the working staff and reduce heating energy requirements; and the approaches to improving science thru modularity, system standardization and remote system operations.
The Antarctic Analog provides a means of developing systems and system technology in a real operational environment with direct application to SEI requirements. This test bed will also provide a link between space system developments and terrestrial requirements for addressing present and future environmental issues.