Vera Hirschberg Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

(Phone: 202/453-8425) RELEASE: 91-13

January 25, 1991

NASA, NSF TO DEVELOP ANTARCTIC SPACE ANALOG The remote and barren continent of Antarctica will be used as a productive testbed for technologies and systems that may enable people eventually to build a permanent outpost on the Moon and journey to Mars, thanks to an agreement signed today by NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The agencies have signed a Memorandum of Agreement which will benefit NSF's operations in Antarctica and enable NASA to prepare for future missions to the Moon and Mars by conducting basic scientific research and testing technologies and systems to support human life. These activities will build on NSF's more than 33 years of experience in scientific research in the harsh Antarctic environment. Scientists believe that Antarctica's climate, terrain, temperature and isolation provide an environment on Earth that most closely parallels the conditions of isolation and stress to be faced on long-duration human missions in space. The Antarctic space analog will thus provide a unique and accessible testbed to develop prototype lunar and Mars systems and technologies. Under the agreement, NASA and NSF will pursue a broad range of research in areas related to space science, and will demonstrate technologies in such areas as life support and environmental control; energy generation and storage; automation and robotics; telescience; and human behavior and performance. This research will benefit NSF's ongoing Antarctic activities. Advance technologies to improve scientific operations and

improve living and working conditions, minimize environmental impacts, and hold down operations and logistics costs will be early examples of how space technologies can help solve problems on Earth. - more -2NASA and NSF have a long history of cooperative research projects in Antarctica including programs ranging from meteorite recovery to cosmic microwave background observations. The two agencies also have done cooperative research on the origin of microbial ecosystems in the ice-covered lakes of Antarctica's dry valleys. This research relates to studies of the possible evolution of life on Mars in the distant past. Signers of the agreement include representives of NSF's Directorate of Geosciences and NASA's Office of Aeronautics, Exploration and Technology and Office of Space Science and Applications. - end NASA news releases and other NASA information are available electronically on CompuServe and GEnie, the General Electric Network for Information Exchange. For information on CompuServe, call 1-800848-8199 and ask for representative 176. For information on GEnie, call 1-800-638-9636.