Mars Methane Analogue Mission
The Mars Methane Mission was one of a series of Analogue Missions funded by the Canadian Space Agency, with the objective of advancing science and technology on earth, while contributing to the methodology of future explorations in space.
Led by MPB Communications, the Mars Methane Mission was orchestrated to validate the science capabilities and operational requirements of the KAPVIK microRover and its potential miniature science payload.
Missions were deployed in June 2011 and June 2012 in abandoned open-pit asbestos mines in Quebec. The locations were picked for their geographical similarities to the Mars terrain, and because they contained methane produced by the weathering of serpentine, a process suggested to have taken place on Mars.
Key components of the field test in 2012 included:
- Operating the KAPVIK rover remotely from CSA headquarters, about 100 miles away
- Having KAPVIK use its stereo camera and 3D map generating abilities to chart it’s own route from one place to another
- Geological mapping using an electromagnetic induction sounder
- Collecting of methane samples, discriminating between abiogenic and biogenic sources
- Collecting soil samples, for both in-situ and laboratory testing
Discovery Channel's "Daily Planet" was on hand to capture a Mars Methane Analogue Mission outing in June, 2012