Analog Locations

There are numerous analog location worldwide where aspects of human space mission are being investigated. There are a variety of natural environments that simulate aspects of conditions found on the Mars, the Moon, or even asteroids. Each analog site offers a unique set of conditions or facilities to be able to engage in spaceflight research.

Current Analog Locations Worldwide

Here is the current list of Analog Research Locations: (Sources: NASA, NSF, and Wikipedia)

  • Antarctic Research Stations (NSF) - the National Science Foundation (NSF) provides scientists with logistics, operational, and laboratory support in Antarctica.
    • McMurdo Station - Research is performed at and near McMurdo in aeronomy and astrophysicsbiology and medicinegeology and geophysicsglaciology and glacial geology, and ocean and climate systemsParticipants of the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program also work at sites near McMurdo Station.
    • Palmer Station - Research is focused on the Antarctic marine ecosystem, including sea ice habitats, regional oceanography and terrestrial nesting sites of seabird predators. The station maintains networks for year-round monitoring of global seismic, atmospheric, UV activity and houses a radio receiver studying lightning over the Western Hemisphere.
    • Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) - ANSMET is a program funded by the National Science Foundation that looks for meteorites in the Transantarctic Mountains. This geographical area serves as a collection point for meteorites that have originally fallen on the extensive high-altitude ice fields throughout Antarctica. 
  • Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station (D-MARS)- The primary goal of the D-MARS effort is to promote space-related science and technology in Israel through the creation of analog infrastructure for academic research and technological development. Located in the Mitzpe Ramon area of Israel’s Negev Desert.
  • Desert Research and Technology Studies (D-RATS) – This NASA-funded program tests hardware, such as rover prototypes, and operations concepts, like sample-collection techniques, in the Arizona desert every fall.
  • LunAres - simulated Lunar and Mars exploration habitat located in Pila, Poland.
  • Haughton Mars Project (HMP) – This project on Devon Island in the Arctic is run jointly by SETI and the Mars Institute. The project utilizes the Mars-like features of the Island and the impact crater to develop and test new technologies and field operating procedures and to study the human dynamics which result from extended contact in close quarters.
    • Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) is located on Devon Island approximately 165 kilometers (103 mi) northeast of the hamlet of Resolute in Nunavut, Canada. The station is situated on Haynes Ridge, overlooking the Haughton impact crater, a 23 kilometer (14 mi) diameter crater formed approximately 39 million years ago.
    • Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS). n the Utah desert was established by the Mars Society in 2001 to better educate researchers, students and the general public about how humans can survive on the Red Planet. 
  • NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) – This NASA sends groups of astronauts, engineers, and scientists to live in Aquarius Habitat, the world's only undersea research station It is currently operated by Florida International University (FIU) and Aquarius is located 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles) off Key Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
  • NASA Environment Habitat (enviHab) - is a state of the art research facility operated by the Institute for Aerospace Medicine at the German Space Agency (DLR). It is located in Cologne, Germany.
  • NASA Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) - s a unique three-story habitat designed to serve as an analog for isolation, confinement, and remote conditions in exploration scenarios. It is located at Johnson Space Center. 
  • NASA Space Radiation Lab (NSRL) - NSRL helps to access health risks of cosmic radiation. To better understand these risks, NASA has teamed with the U.S. Dept. of Energy to establish this lab. It is located in Brookhaven, National Lab in Upton, New York.
  • Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP) – This is a joint project between the Canadian Space Agency and NASA which conducts research on Pavilion Lake and others in British Columbia, Canada to explain the origin of freshwater microbialites, as well as to test operational concepts for deep space missions. While the lake is not a close physical analog to the Moon or Mars or an asteroid, the complex operations of the field team and back room in dealing with communications, power, safety, science, etc., make the project an excellent operational analog.
  • PolAres – was an interdisciplinary research programme by the Austrian Space Forum to do a number of Mars analog missions and conduct a multi-national field simulation.
  • Project Moonwalk (MOONWALK) – This project is funded by the European Commission under the “space activity” theme of the 7th Framework Programme is to develop and test technologies for astronaut-robot cooperation applied to Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVA) on planetary surfaces and training procedures for future human missions to Moon and Mars.
    • Nasemnyy eksperimental'nyy kompleks (NEK) provides an analog platform of four experimental chambers (50 m3, 100 m3, 150 m3, 250 m3 ) that support three-10 crew members. The Mars-500 analog simulation paced a multinational crew of six into a spacecraft mock-up for a 520-day simulated mission to Mars. Their goal was to understand the psychological implications of long duration spaceflight.
  • Yuegong-1 (Lunar Palace 1) - s a Chinese research facility for developing a moon base. It is an environmentally closed facility where occupants can simulate a long-duration self-contained mission with no outside inputs other than power/energy.