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  • 1.
    Cockell, Charles S.
    et al.
    UK Centre for Astrobiology, SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Midlothian, UK.
    Martin-Torres, Javier
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology. UK Centre for Astrobiology, SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Midlothian, UK; Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra (UGR-CSIC), Granada, Spain .
    Zorzano, Maria-Paz
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology. Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Torrejon de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid, Spain.
    Bhardwaj, Anshuman
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Soria-Salinas, Álvaro
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Mathanla, Thasshwin
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Israel Nazarious, Miracle
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Vakkada Ramachandran, Abhilash
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Suckling, Barbara
    Boulby Underground Laboratory, Boulby, UK.
    Subsurface scientific exploration of extraterrestrial environments (MINAR 5): analogue science, technology and education in the Boulby Mine, UK2019In: International Journal of Astrobiology, ISSN 1473-5504, E-ISSN 1475-3006, Vol. 18, no 2, p. 157-182Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The deep subsurface of other planetary bodies is of special interest for robotic and human exploration. The subsurface provides access to planetary interior processes, thus yielding insights into planetary formation and evolution. On Mars, the subsurface might harbour the most habitable conditions. In the context of human exploration, the subsurface can provide refugia for habitation from extreme surface conditions. We describe the fifth Mine Analogue Research (MINAR 5) programme at 1 km depth in the Boulby Mine, UK in collaboration with Spaceward Bound NASA and the Kalam Centre, India, to test instruments and methods for the robotic and human exploration of deep environments on the Moon and Mars. The geological context in Permian evaporites provides an analogue to evaporitic materials on other planetary bodies such as Mars. A wide range of sample acquisition instruments (NASA drills, Small Planetary Impulse Tool (SPLIT) robotic hammer, universal sampling bags), analytical instruments (Raman spectroscopy, Close-Up Imager, Minion DNA sequencing technology, methane stable isotope analysis, biomolecule and metabolic life detection instruments) and environmental monitoring equipment (passive air particle sampler, particle detectors and environmental monitoring equipment) was deployed in an integrated campaign. Investigations included studying the geochemical signatures of chloride and sulphate evaporitic minerals, testing methods for life detection and planetary protection around human-tended operations, and investigations on the radiation environment of the deep subsurface. The MINAR analogue activity occurs in an active mine, showing how the development of space exploration technology can be used to contribute to addressing immediate Earth-based challenges. During the campaign, in collaboration with European Space Agency (ESA), MINAR was used for astronaut familiarization with future exploration tools and techniques. The campaign was used to develop primary and secondary school and primary to secondary transition curriculum materials on-site during the campaign which was focused on a classroom extra vehicular activity simulation.

  • 2.
    Martorell, José Antonio Gordillo
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Israel Nazarious, Miracle
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Mathanlal, Thasshwin
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Martin-Torres, Javier
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology. Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra (CSIC-UGR), Granada, Spain.
    Zorzano, María Paz
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology. Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Madrid, Spain.
    Thurfjell, Magnus
    Porsöskolan, Lulea, Sweden.
    Antich Lunqvist, Margaretta
    Porsöskolan, Lulea, Sweden.
    Metabolizing science from the laboratory to the classroom: The Metabolt Educational Experience2019In: Journal of Engineering Science and Technology, Vol. 2, no 7, p. 9-26Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The present article summarizes a pilot knowledge co-creation process experience done with a group of 15 eleven and twelve years old students of Porsöskolan, a public school near Luleå Tekniska Universitet from September 2018 to January 2019. The experience is based on a true research project of the Group of Atmospheric Science (GAS) called METABOLT, an instrument to investigate the metabolic activity of microorganisms in soils by measuring the electrochemical and gaseous bio signatures. In this paper, we explain how we have designed, developed, applied and evaluated a complete learning and engagement strategy to bring science from the laboratory to the classroom. The experience adapts the scientific method to the primary classroom level, taking as practical case the METABOLT experiment: identification of a problem, hypothesis design, experiment creation to get results, analysis and confrontation with the hypothesis and provisional conclusions to verify or discard them. After the experience a set of surveys were given to all the stakeholders, students, teachers and researchers to evaluate their perception of the effects of the activity. One unexpected result is the difference in perception between the teachers and students on the learning experience. This project demonstrates that professional researchers with the adequate communication strategy, training and tracking can promote a relevant learning process and achieve a social impact in different audiences

  • 3.
    Mathanla, Thasshwin
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Bhardwaj, Anshuman
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Vakkada Ramachandran, Abhilash
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Zorzano, María-Paz
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology. Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Madrid, Spain.
    Martin-Torres, Javier
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology. Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra (CSIC-UGR), Granada, Spain.
    Cockell, Charles
    UK Centre of Astrobiology, SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Midlothian, UK.
    Paling, Sean
    Boulby Underground Laboratory, Boulby, UK.
    Edwards, Tom
    Boulby Underground Laboratory, Boulby, UK.
    Subsurface robotic exploration for geomorphology, astrobiology and mining during MINAR6 campaign, Boulby Mine, UK: part I (Rover development)2019In: International Journal of Astrobiology, ISSN 1473-5504, E-ISSN 1475-3006Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Autonomous exploration requires the use of movable platforms that carry a payload of instruments with a certain level of autonomy and communication with the operators. This is particularly challenging in subsurface environments, which may be more dangerous for human access and where communication with the surface is limited. Subsurface robotic exploration, which has been to date very limited, is interesting not only for science but also for cost-effective industrial exploitation of resources and safety assessments in mines. Furthermore, it has a direct application to exploration of extra-terrestrial subsurface environments of astrobiological and geological significance such as caves, lava tubes, impact or volcanic craters and subglacial conduits, for deriving in-situ mineralogical resources and establishing preliminary settlements. However, the technological solutions are generally tailor-made and are therefore considered as costly, fragile and environment-specific, further hindering their extensive and effective applications. To demonstrate the advantages of rover exploration for a broad-community, we have developed KORE (KOmpact Rover for Exploration); a low-cost, re-usable, rover multi-purpose platform. The rover platform has been developed as a technological demonstration for extra-terrestrial subsurface exploration and terrestrial mining operations pertaining to geomorphological mapping, environmental monitoring, gas leak detections and search and rescue operations in case of an accident. The present paper, the first part of a series of two, focuses on describing the development of a robust rover platform to perform dedicated geomorphological, astrobiological and mining tasks. KORE was further tested in the Mine Analogue Research 6 (MINAR6) campaign during September 2018 in the Boulby mine (UK), the second deepest potash mine in Europe at a subsurface depth of 1.1 km, the results of which will be presented in the second paper of this series. KORE is a large, semi-autonomous rover weighing 160 kg with L × W × H dimensions 1.2 m × 0.8 m × 1 m and a payload carrying capacity of 100 kg using 800 W traction power that can power to a maximum speed of 8.4 km h−1. The rover can be easily dismantled in three parts facilitating its transportation to any chosen site of exploration. Presently, the main scientific payloads on KORE are: (1) a three-dimensional mapping camera, (2) a methane detection system, (3) an environmental station capable of monitoring temperature, relative humidity, pressure and gases such as NO2, SO2, H2S, formaldehyde, CO, CO2, O3, O2, volatile organic compounds and particulates and (4) a robotic arm. Moreover, the design of the rover allows for integration of more sensors as per the scientific requirements in future expeditions. At the MINAR6 campaign, the technical readiness of KORE was demonstrated during 6 days of scientific research in the mine, with a total of 22 h of operation.

  • 4.
    Mathanlal, Thasshwin
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Martin-Torres, Javier
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Bhardwaj, Anshuman
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Zorzano Mier, María-Paz
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Self-Sustainable Monitoring Station for Extreme Environments (S3ME2): Design and validation2019In: 2018 Second International Conference on Green Computing and Internet of Things (ICGCIoT), IEEE, 2019, p. 240-245Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We describe the development of a robust, self-sustainable, versatile environmental monitoring station, the S3ME2, with a multitude of sensors capable of operating in extreme environments (from cold arid sub-arctic regions to hot deserts and high-altitude mountain terrains), providing realtime quality data of critical climate and geophysical parameters for a wide field of research such as pressure, surface and subsurface temperature and humidity, magnetic field and seismic activity. The dedicated communication modem utilizes IoT technology and can deliver this data from remote regions. The S3ME2 has been designed as a low-cost instrument to facilitate the production of multiple units. During the pilot phase, it has demonstrated continuous operability for up to 6 months, including survival during extremely cold, snowy, and low insolation, and low wind periods in the Sub-Arctic region. With its robust design, S3ME2 exploits the use of renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power to power the system. The S3ME2 has also been designed from a modular point of view with commercial off the shelf components (COTS) and open source hardware, considering long term operability of the station. The sensor modules can be easily added, replaced, or upgraded such that a stable functioning of the system is guaranteed.

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