Life in Lava Tubes

Over the summer 2013, the HMC Astrobiology lab (also known as the Extravehicular Instrument Laboratory – EVIL) partnered with HMC’s Lab for Autonomous and Intelligent Robotics (LAIR) to document a project exploring life in lava tubes in the Mojave Desert. LAIR’s Jaguar Lite robots produced a map of a lava tube, while EVIL’s Pandora scanned the walls of the desert caves in search for signs of life using Laser Induced Fluorescence Emission (LIFE) spectroscopy. The effort is part of an ongoing project to develop an autonomous system capable of exploring lava tubes on Mars and one day exoplanets beyond the reach of human exploration.


For further information on this project, visit the lava tube sites at LAIR and the Kinohi Institute.