Remote Sites as Analogs for Lunar and Mars Habitat Pilot Studies 941455
Planetary surface exploration and establishment of human habitats are complex tasks requiring a wide variety of capabilities. We currently do not posses these capabilities or experience base necessary for long-duration habitation of other planets. Future exploration can be guided by experiences gained during analogous activities at appropriate sites on Earth. The Antarctic continent is of great analog value to NASA in the area of planetary exploration. The U.S. South Pole Station is of particular relevance to habitat development. The Station offers great fidelity in resemblance to NASA missions, an effective infrastructure is already in place to support activities, and implementation of NASA-derived technologies can improve the quality of life for Station inhabitants and reduce the environmental impact of human activities on the Antarctic continent. These technologies can also address important issues facing remote communities around the globe. The rural towns and villages of Alaska can serve as a valuable analog to guide the transfer of technologies to real world applications with particular attention to impacts on indigenous peoples. The operational, educational, academic, and industrial infrastructure systems of Alaska provide an effective bridge from the laboratory to the village in the remote bush. By teaming NASA with the people of the State of Alaska, and utilizing the experience and expertise already present in Alaska, a method can be developed to guide future transfers to communities around the world lacking in technical support. The methods used by NASA to support communities outside of Earth might be applied to improve the quality of life and the economy of remote communities on Earth. Especially in the case of indigenous people, where induction into the main stream economic systems can threaten the culture and heritage, this approach may enable economic and community development and preserve the culture of the indigenous peoples.