XArc Corp has formed an international team of planetary scientists, caving and mining experts, robotic experts, and human performance experts for lunar lava tube analog mission research. The team will identify research funding to perform research and development of operational scenarios and technologies for an analog mission investigating required science measurements with human performance objectives simulating robotic and human “first contact” with a lunar lava tube. Research objectives are to identify the best path for technology development and how sampling and science can be done on the lunar surface and underground using lava tube analog mission testbeds. The initial proposed geographic location for conducting the analog studies is within the protected area of the Nisga’a Lava Bed in proximity to the Tseax River Cone or Aiyansh Volcano where unmapped lava tubes exist.
The team is comprised of Exploration Architecture Corporation (XArc), San Antonio, TX, USA, responsible for leading team coordination activities and proposal management, lava tube characterization for habitation technology, mission operations, and human performance research sub-team lead; Antarctic Institute of Canada, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, acting as Principal Investigator; Penguin Automated Systems, Inc., Naughton, Ontario, Canada, acting as project lead organization and technology sub-team lead; University of Western Ontario, Center for Planetary Science and Exploration, London, Ontario, Canada, acting as science investigations sub-team lead; MDA, Bampton, Ontario, Canada, responsible for robotics and technology applications; Turquoise Technology Solutions, Montreal, Canada, responsible for logistics, GPS and remote sensing, and management support; and York University, Department of Earth and Space Science & Engineering , Toronto, Ontario, Canada, responsible for science investigations and support.