Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition

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Image of a hot spring taken during AMASE 2004

Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) was a two and a half week long expedition to Svalbard which occurred during the summer of 2006. The expedition consisted of a team of international experts, scientists, engineers and filmmakers.

Expedition objectives[edit]

The main objective of the Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) is to characterize the geology, geochemical and geophysical features, as well as the biosignatures and life forms in volcanic centers, warm springs, perennial rivers, glaciers and snow fields in various field sites on the Svalbard archipelago (Norway) because these sites are thought to be analogous to sites on ancient Mars.

AMASE started in 2003 and is ongoing; initially the AMASE team targeted the Bockfjorden area (79.5N) with its Sverefjell volcano, the associated hot-spring-deposited carbonate terraces, the red sandstones as well as the glaciers.


The equipment used out in the field by the expedition, is adapted from off-the-shelf instruments to function in the frigid Svalbard temperatures and to assist in detection and characterization of low levels of microbiota and organic and mineralogical biomarkers. This equipment will be used in a real-time understanding of the environment and thus permits the team to gather samples and test hypotheses with minimal disturbance, and the sample acquisition and analysis methods are providing tests of protocols for future experiments on manned/unmanned missions to Mars.

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