Mars Society Australia is partnering with Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, India to conduct the first Spaceward Bound astrobiology field expedition in Himalayan region of Ladakh in India from August 09-19, 2016.  This event is under the auspices of the Spaceward Bound program, originally conceived at the NASA Ames Research Center.

Participants include researchers and educators from Australia, US, Europe and India (including from University of New South Wales, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, The Australian National University NASA Ames, NASA JPL, and Lulea Technical University, Sweden).   The Ladakh is a high altitude cold desert that supports life despite aridity, cold, high levels of solar and cosmic radiation, and informs us of the possible origin and history of life on Earth, Mars, and other bodies in the Solar system. It is an ideal natural laboratory of global significance for research into astrobiology.

The team shall comprise of researchers, educators and students who shall collect samples for later lab work, study unique terrain and field test instruments, future versions of which may later fly on upcoming robotic missions to Mars. They shall also interact with school children living in these isolated and remote regions and inspire them about space and science education and later in their own schools in Australia, the US, and elsewhere.

Planned as the first of many, the expedition serves as a pathfinder mission, which shall pave the way for subsequent joint field work and partnership with relevant Indian research groups.

Contact Information:

Dr. Jonathan Clarke

President, Mars Society Australia and Science Coordinator, Phone: +61418401612

Mr. Siddharth Pandey

Director, Mars Society Australia and Project Coordinator , Phone: +61416933768


The Universe as seen from Ladakh (Image Credit: Astroproject India)