Strategies for the Development and Validation of Viable Terrestrial Analogs to Space Exploration 951693
For decades, the cold, dry valleys of Antarctica have been referenced as the closest terrestrial analog to Mars. Recent attention has also been focused on the seafloor as a potential analog to space exploration scenarios. As these terrestrial analogs have received more attention, some of the research, development and economic burden has been shifted from traditional sources to valid ground-based test platforms, conserving considerable, and increasingly limited, resources. Yet, there is still a need to make closer assessments of terrestrial analogs. A strategy of analog development and objective assessment will enable not only a better evaluation of the analog itself, but will allow for the development of extremely effective analog missions with high pay-off potentials. Such missions, carried out with well conceived and measurable designs, have the potential of saving space exploration resources by flying designs already well proven and thoroughly tested by rich and effective, high fidelity terrestrial analogs.