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Analysis of Antarctic logistics and operations data: Results from the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET), austral summer season, 2002–2003, with implications for planetary surface operations

Dean B. Eppler
Dean B. Eppler
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Astromaterials Research and Exploration Sciences Directorate, Exploration Science Office, Mail Code KX, NASA–Johnson Space Center, 2101 NASA Parkway, Houston, Texas 77058, USA
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December 01, 2011

The operational and logistical burden associated with putting a team of four scientists in a hostile environment was investigated as part of the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) Project during the austral summer of 2002–2003. Operational time data, when compared with similar data from the Apollo J-series missions, suggest that crew time available to science on future exploration missions will be no more than 20% of the total available surface time, due to the time demands associated with operating in a hostile environment. A comparison of time-distance statistics derived from ANSMET meteorite search traverses to similar traverses from Apollo was inconclusive—there was no clear pattern of similarity or dissimilarity between the two data sets. However, both data sets reinforce the benefits of robust rover capability over simple walking because rovers allow exploration of a wider area for a given period of time when compared to walking. Lastly, mass data for equipment and supplies for a four-person team on the Antarctic polar plateau suggest that supplying a Mars or lunar mission with the necessary supplies for nominal surface operations would take up a significant amount of the mass-to-orbit prior to initiating trans-Mars or lunar injection.

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Figures & Tables


GSA Special Papers

Analogs for Planetary Exploration

W. Brent Garry
W. Brent Garry
Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona, USA
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Jacob E. Bleacher
Jacob E. Bleacher
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Planetary Geodynamics Lab, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
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Geological Society of America
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Publication date:
December 01, 2011


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