A typical overcrusted lava tube on the northern side of Arsia Mons in the Tharsis volcanic province of Mars. The dark circle are skylights open on the underground conduit. (credits NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

Caves: the hidden side of planets

There are thousands of kilometers of unexplored caves on Earth. But speleologists are wondering if planets such as Mars could have cave systems as well. And our imagination runs… How big could they be? How long are...

2. OSTPV and the simplified CAVES MApp Timeline

Taking space ops underground

A main objective of CAVES 2014 was to test how operations concepts and tools used on the International Space Station adapt to extended cave exploration. Offering familiar protocols to astronauts could result in quicker adaptation to the...

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CAVES operations – high or low-tech for...

We were like kids at Christmas when we received our IT gear for the CAVES 2014 campaign that included rugged high-tech tablets for photos and the daily operations report and light-weight 8” tablets with the ops procedures...

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Under the hood: the CAVES OPS Tools

We will present here, for tech-enthusiasts, some more details of the client-side of the OPS tools developed for CAVES 2014 and their supporting hardware. The setup was driven by operational requirements and the peculiarities of the CAVES...

Screen time underground. Credits: ESA/S.Sechi

An integrated Space-Station-based mission

Extended Exploration days are very busy for the CAVEnauts. Reviewing operations information. Credits: ESA/V.Crobu Reviewing operations information. Credits: ESA/V.Crobu They have to perform science, test technology, document their exploration and manage the campsite. This requires a...

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Wi-fi and tablets go caving with astronauts

Caves are humid, dirty places, and exploring them means ‘going through squeezes’, bumping your rucksack (and yourself) along rocky walls and losing anything not constantly kept under the light of your headlamp or attached by tethers. In...

Cavenaut L.Parmitano adjusting the camera to take the right shot. Credits: ESA/S.Sechi
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Cave documentation: Survey and Photography

YouTube Cave exploration is a wonderful and exciting experience. Tales of exploration are perfect for telling around a fire or for writing in books. But no description of caves can really convey the physicality of what was...

Taking samples in the caves. Credits: ESA- S.Sechi

The science of CAVES: meteorology

Meteorology in caves Caves are rather stable climatic environments, with an almost constant temperature and high degrees of relative humidity. Nonetheless, detailed measurements of climatic parameters allow the finding of small variations that cause underground “weather” changes....

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The science of CAVES: Environmental Science –...

Radon monitoring in caves The objective of these measurements is to determine radon concentrations in the air. Radon is a radioactive noble gas, produced by the decay of the Uranium series isotopes. In closed environments radon is...

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The science of CAVES: environmental science –...

Monitoring CO2 in caves CO2 is the most infamous greenhouse gas. The air that we breathe on Earth has concentrations of around 390 parts per million (0,039 %). In caves CO2 is found in higher concentrations because...