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Science and technology requirements to explore caves in our Solar System

April 30, 2021

We are in the incipient phase of exploring the subterranean realm of our Solar System. Planetary caves research offers interdisciplinary, cross-planetary body investigations spanning geology, climatology, astrobiology, robotics, and human use. Caves are of great importance in advancing our understanding of planetary processes and the search for life beyond Earth.

Given these advances, a diverse and interdisciplinary community of planetary caves researchers has emerged. Their activities have been partially documented by a series of workshops and conferences over the last thirteen years (Titus & Boston, 2012; Wynne et al, 2016; Titus et al., 2020, submitted). These meetings brought together scientists and engineers from around the world to discuss both science needs (i.e., geology, habitability, and astrobiology), as well as engineering challenges (e.g., mobility, navigation, and communications) for cave research on other planetary bodies.

It was determined at the last planetary caves conference that a goals and/or roadmap document, like those of the Assessment and Advisory Groups, was needed. This white paper is our initial conception of such an effort.

Publication Year 2021
Title Science and technology requirements to explore caves in our Solar System
DOI 10.3847/25c2cfeb.a68ba8cb
Authors Timothy N. Titus, Janna Wynne, P. J. Boston, P. de Leon, C. Demirel-Floyd, H Jones, Francesco Sauro, Kyle Uckert, Ali-akbar Agha-Mohammadi, E. Calvin Alexander, James W. Ashley, Armando Azua-Bustos, Leroy Chiao, Glen E. Cushing, J DeDecker, Alberto G. Fairén, A Frumkin, Jo de Waele, Gary L. Harris, Laura A. Kerber, Richard J. Léveillé, Michael J. Malaska, Kavya Manyapu, Matteo Massironi, Ana Z. Miller, John E. Mylroie, Bogdan P. Onac, Scott Parazynski, Charity Phillips-Lander, Thomas Prettyman, Haley Sapers, Norbert Schorghofer, Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Red Whittaker, Kaj E. Williams, Uland Wong
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title Bulletin of the AAS
Index ID 70214542
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center