HILO, Hawaii (AP) Scientists will mix biology and geology this month inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as they help NASA get ready for an eventual manned mission to Mars.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Friday that during the next couple of weeks, researchers will hike around Mauna Ulu to practice collecting rock samples as they would on the Red Planet.
The purpose is to develop protocols that would be used on a real Mars mission to identify and protect samples that could host life.
One of the concerns is contamination of rocks that might be home to living bacteria, said John Hamilton, an astronomy faculty member at the University of Hawaii, Hilo.
Communication with researchers will be placed on time delays of five or 20 minutes to simulate an actual mission, he said.