Planetary Analog Test Sites

Lunar & Martian Analog Terrain

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 testing. 

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 a variety of logistical and support services to help make your field test successful:

  • Site selection & permitting
  • Site preparation
  • Field personnel support (food, shelter, medical)
  • Power 
  • Field operations center
  • Data communications system
  • Field communications system
  • Night-time illumination
  • Media & public outreach

We also offer a mobile testing platform upon request. Our Helelani planetary rover has an open-payload design and can be remotely operated from anywhere in the world. For more information, please inquire about this option in the test site request form.

Request a Test Site

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