William J. Clancey: Home > Publications > Mars Analog Expeditions and Research Stations

NASA-SETI Haughton-Mars Project
Mars Society Research Stations

Analog field studies provide a way of experimentally learning how we will live and work in space--on the moon, Mars, and beyond.  An engineer might call this work"empirical requirements analysis."

Inside Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station, "the hab," July 16, 2001.

Vladimir Pletser (ESA, Belgium), Robert Zubrin, and I are discussing what we learned from a recent "EVA" (excursion in simulated space suits).

The NASA's Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) has investigated the Haughton Crater on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic as an analog of Mars. Geologists, biologists, computer scientists, physicians, and journalists have participated in a series of field seasons, led by Pascal Lee, an astrogeologist at SETI and the NASA/Ames Research Center.

The Mars Society has constructed habitats at Haughton (Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS)) and near Hanksville, UT (Mars Desert Research Station), which will enable studying how scientists and engineers will live and work on Mars. I have proposed a framework for managing scientific research in these habitats and systematically studied a two week rotation at MDRS.

My field reports describe my research during HMP and in the research stations.

My favorite photos, associated publications, and some slide presentations are available below.

Learn about the Mars Society's Research Stations:


July 2001 at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station

Expedition Field Work & Experiments

"Commander Logs" provide daily reports, photographs, and a mission summary.
Published titles appear in quotes; see below and Publications for full citations.

    DRATS06 Patch 2006: Application of Mobile Agents with pressurized suits for voice commanding the SCOUT prototype rover in directed drives to waypoints, following an astronaut, taking photos of places, and controlling an instrument.

MDRS49 patch

2006: Application of Mobile Agents voice commanding for monitoring the MDRS electric power system. Included inverter & generator alerts and voice messages, using Bluetooth wireless headsets anywhere inside MDRS and by relay to the generator outside.


2005: Integrated simulation of robot reconnaisance, planning, and EVAs. First extended EVAs with multiple voice-commanding units operational over several hours. Improved feedback and automatic association of data, plus location and distancc questions. Rudimentary robotic relay of WLAN.


2004:  EVAs with two astronauts and robotic mule in ravine 5 km from MDRS, including all aspects of Mobile Agents: photos, voice annotations, labeling sample bags, named locations, schedule and location alerting, science database, and email notification to remote support. Ability to remotely restart units independently. Best run with one unit working consistently was 1 1/2 hours.



2003: First rudimentary EVAs, tackling problems of starting up multiple computers, outdoor networking around obstacles, GPS and biosensor telemetry. Best run was about 20 minutes. (Built on DesertRATS Sept 2002 in AZ and first integrated tests at JSC Mars Yard, May 2002.)



2003: Return to Haughton Mars Project for a humvee excursion to the north coast of Devon Island. The harsh weather framed our understanding of the harsh realities of risky operations.

 MDRS5 Logo

2002: Two-week stimulation of Mars surface mission, with extensive study of productivity relating group and individual activities, using time lapse data, plans, sleep log, and surveys.



2001: Mission simulation led by Robert Zubrin in FMARS on Devon Island, filmed by Discovery Channel.

Study of activities was formalized in Brahms computer simulation of filling water tank, preparing for EVA, and a morning planning meeting--coupled to a 2 1/2 D animation of facility, crew, and tools.


2000: Construction of FMARS facility and initial occupation for several days, suggested some guidelines for future mission simulations.


1999: A full month on the Haughton River, with the best weather and the magnificent dome tent.

Analysis of biologist and geologist working together, using video transcripts, was related in subsequent publications to Apollo CapCom functions and the nature of collaboration.



1998: The first broad-participation Haughton Mars Project, documented by National Geographic. Experience here revealed the need for wireless microphones and time lapse video.

Photographs from the Arctic

Barry Blumberg at FMARS on 6 August 2000
Barry Blumberg visited the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on August 6, 2000
Left to right: Marc Boucher, Pascal Lee,
Sekou Crawford, Barry Blumberg, and Bill Clancey

All images following Copyright William J. Clancey © 1999-2001, All Rights Reserved.

Publications Related to Mars Analog Research

FMARS and MDRS: Mars Society Conference Publications (1999-2006)

Mars Society Talks (Slides)

Buzz Aldrin speaks to Mars Society, August 1999

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