NASA, Idaho State University Team Up For Lava Flow Research

Aug 13, 2015

Credit Timelapsed / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho State University and NASA are collaborating on research that may help scientists find life on other planets and improve radar to land rovers more safely on Mars.

The Idaho State Journal reports two teams are researching lava flows at the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve using rocks that ISU Geosciences assistant professor Shannon Kobs-Nawotniak says are very similar to those found on Mars.

One section of research is meant to help improve radar so rovers can land more safely. Another is examining how bacteria, viruses and other microbial life evolve in lava flows on Earth, which could help scientists find evidence of life on other planets.

NASA is funding the research. Field tests started Aug. 1 and are continuing through Friday.