The tools needed to set up AGPA geophysical surveys during PANGAEA-X seem a bit threatening, but no one was harmed. Source: Flickr

Planetary science is practiced largely using remotely sensed data, remotely operated in-situ experiments, or extraterrestrial samples, either naturally delivered to Earth (meteorites) or collected and returned (sample return). An exception, so far unique, was the NASA Apollo program, where humans were mostly involved.

Both past and future planetary exploration of the Moon and Mars need to be planned and tested on terrestrial analogues, either for scientific or operational purposes. …

ESA Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

The robotic and human exploration of the Solar System started without data beyond those available from Earth (e.g. from ground-based telescopes). All the following efforts were based on data collected by all sort of spacecrafts. Mars is a good example: Most data leading to the selection of a landing site over another derived from existing spacecrafts, e.g. in the case of Mars Pathfinder (see paper openly accessible from AGU) in the mid 90’s vs. MSL Curiosity in the early 2010’s (e.g. see paper paywalled here, with some ~legal copy accessible e.g. here).

Paywalled articles already bring up the issue of…

Angelo Pio Rossi

Geologist looking (mostly) at planets

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