The Planetary Analogue Field Studies Network (PAFS-net)
Pullan, D (1)
(1) Space Research Centre, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, UK (email@example.com)
The Planetary Analogue Field Studies Network (PAFS-net) is an international group of scientists and engineers with a common interest in the practical challenges of planetary exploration. A range of disciplines are represented within PAFS-net including geology, astrobiology, geophysics, rock/soil mechanics, instrumentation and robotics. The primary activity is to undertake a programme of integrated thematic studies incorporating planetary analogue materials and a range of in situ techniques. Results from individual studies are stored in a database of inter-related experimental data. These data plus the collective experience acquired by the PAFS-net membership will be invaluable to future planetary missions. PAFS-net relies on an extensive library of well characterised, close and part analogue geological samples, accessible analogous field sites and an array of instruments from laboratory/field equipment to space hardware. The range of in situ techniques used is broad and includes multi-scale imaging, spectroscopy and geotechnics (sample preparation and acquisition). Where possible, PAFS-net utilises space qualified or prototype instruments with which to conduct experiments. In the absence of either, studies make use of available laboratory equipment (especially portable kit) and adopt an emulation strategy. Equipment assets are disseminated worldwide, usually at the home institutes of participating members. Study samples therefore migrate back and forth between labs and appropriate instruments are taken into the field during sampling and/or robotic trials. Crucially experiments are “multi-technique” and “sample centred” (as would be the case at the planetary surface) and are conducted within the appropriate constraints of in situ operations. Examples of studies will be presented.
Corresponding Author: Derek Pullan