Digging Iceland Geology for Mars Analog Research Science

The DIGMARS (Digging Iceland Geology for Mars Analog Research Science) team was recently in the field exploring Iceland as a terrestrial analog for Mars. Members of the team, including Dr. Michael Thorpe of NASA Johnson Space Center and LPI Staff Scientist Dr. Kennda Lynch, bring together a diverse set of skills and expertise contributing to their overall research seeking to understand how lakes in Iceland, a basalt dominated terrain, can inform scientists about surface and groundwater processes of early Mars, particularly places like Gale and Jezero Craters.

Mars analog environments on the Earth are places that have characteristics to Mars, making them the optimal place to test Mars mission technologies, host mission field trials, and expand our understanding of the geology on both worlds. Iceland is an established Mars analog as its crust is volcanic with high concentrations of iron and magnesium, much like Mars. Iceland also has glaciers, volcanoes, rivers, lakes, and deserts, environments that existed on Mars at one point in time.