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2012 Annual Science Report

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Icy Worlds Reporting  |  SEP 2011 – AUG 2012

EPO Activity: Icy Worlds E/PO: Mars and the Mojave Festival

Project Progress

Alison Murray participated in the Mars and the Mojave Festival at the Death Valley National Park on March 9-11, 2012. The event was a planetary analog festival, exploring extremes on Earth and beyond. This pioneer three-day public event featured scientist- and National Park Service interpreter-guided field trips to analog sites, evening keynote speakers and panels, star-gazing, and an al fresco expo with representatives from NASA, JPL, non-profits, and universities – including Curiosity mini-rover demonstrations.

The goal of this event was to elevate public awareness about planetary analog research taking place on Earth, and its associated missions in space. Organizations conducting work in the field had an opportunity to raise the profile of their projects in the public eye.

Death Valley National Park boasts several planetary analog research sites within its boundaries and was excited share with its visitors this little known, but extremely important, use of public lands. The event could turn into an annual festival celebrating planetary analogs at different National Park sites throughout the west.

Curiosity was the focus of the Mars and the Mojave Festival, but many other Astrobiology topics — mainly extremophiles — were also discussed at the festival.