Planetary Analog Test Sites

Realistic Lunar & Martian Analogs 

For more than half a century, Hawaiʻi’s volcanic landscapes have provided test and training environments for space exploration missions. Apollo astronauts visited these other-worldly sites for geological training exercises before going to the Moon. In recent years, agencies around the world have come to Hawaiʻi to test and validate spacecraft instruments and technologies before flight. Because these analog sites possess very similar physical and chemical properties to lunar and Martian regolith, they provide high-fidelity testing environments for planetary surface operations. 

Graph: Basalt chemical profiles taken from eight locations on Hawaiʻi Island are compared with a Martian meteorite.

Site Services

moon, mars, and hawaii landscapes compared

Interested in reserving a planetary analog site? We offer logistical support services to help make your field test operation a success:

  • Guidance for site selection: choosing the best site for your mission objectives
  • Site permits: securing access through official state channels 
  • Logistical support: coordinating and securing on-site services, infrastructure, and transit

We also provide a mobile testing platform upon request. Our Helelani planetary rover has an open-payload design and can be remotely operated through an internet connection. For more information, please inquire about this option in your site request.

Request a Test Site

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