Friday, 4 March 2011

Mars on Earth

Devon Island is a large island of the canadian Arctic Archipelago, sister of Baffin Island and Ellesmere Island, fantastic worlds of breathtaking National Parks and inuit settlements rich in arts and traditions.
Coordinates 75°08′ N, 87°51′W

But Devon is the largest uninhabited island in the world. The only remains of human presence are some remains of pre-historic Thule people presence 3 500 years ago, the ruins of a Hudsan Bay Co. outpost at Dundas Harbour, and of the Royal Canadian Police station, also moved away years ago; some attempts to establish a settlement there with inuit population failed due to isolation, hard climate and lack of resources.

As for animal life, Devon supports only a meagre population of musk oxen and small birds . An occasional walrus or polar bear also visits the island.

Coastlines around the island are varied and include tall cliffs, sharp slopes, deep fjords, lowlands and areas of beach.

Croker Bay glacier

Amazingly, NASA found that no place on earth is more similar to the martian desert ! So, an experimental station was installed there to train people, try instruments, vehicles and strategies looking for a future adventure in Mars.

The Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) is located in a 23 Km diameter crater - Haughton crater, a feature that helps the simulation of martian conditions and is considered Earth's best Mars analog site.

The crater was caused by the fall of a 2 km meteor some 39 million years ago, in an area that was forested at the time.

The station

FMARS was installed in 2000, with a crew of 5 cientists and 2 journalists, who took care of simulating the conditions of life in Mars.