Science Center Objects

International Planetary Caves Conference 

The 2nd International Planetary Caves Conference 
Flagstaff, AZ, United States 
October 20-23, 2015 

Scientists have long suspected the presence of caves on other rocky bodies in our solar system, and in 2007, the first extraterrestrial cave-like features were confirmed on Mars. Over 200 lunar and 2000 martian cave-like features have been identified since 2007. The accurate identification of caves are important for future robotic and human missions. Caves are potential sites for astronaut shelters and could be preserve evidence of any life which may have evolved on Mars.

The conference included both oral and poster presentation, discussions, and a field trip to caves formed by lava tubes just outside Flagstaff, AZ.

The 2nd International Planetary Caves Conference discussed the following topics:

  • Lunar and martian cave-like features
  • Types of speleogenic features which may be encountered on other planetary bodies
  • The potential to search for subterranean volatiles and biological signatures
  • Robotic access and exploration
  • Technologies required for human habitation

By discussing these topics, the conference's intention was to begin developing a strategy for the robotic exploration of extraterrestrial caves, with a focus on the Moon and Mars.

For more information, visit the USRA Meeting page for the 2nd International Planetary Dunes Workshop.

Read the abstracts generated by the conference on the meeting website.


The First International Planetary Cave Research Workshop: Implications for Astrobiology, Climate, Detection, and Exploration 
Carlsbad, NM, United States 
October 25-28, 2011

The purpose of this meeting was to initiate discussion between planetary and terrestrial scientists interested in cave research, both on Earth and through our solar system. Topics covered at this workshop included cave definitions and categories, cave formation mechanisms, astrobiology and cave biodiversity, cave microclimates, cave detection on extraterrestrial bodies, cave exploration and mapping, and ice caves.

The workshop also included a field trip to Carlsbad Cavern, with stops at other local caves in the region.

For more information, visit the Meeting Announcement page.

The abstracts are available online on the program on the meeting website.