Planetary Science and Exploration in the Deep Subsurface

The UKCA has published its first paper resulting from its deep subsurface science and exploration analog research at Boulby Mine, UK. The Centre uses the mine environment, an ancient 250 million year old Permian salt deposit, to carry out the testing of technologies for mining and future planetary exploration. The paper summarises the science and technology results from the first three of these campaigns.


Your can access the paper by following this link: Planetary Science and Exploration in the Deep Subsurface.


In July, the centre will be hosting its fourth underground analog campaign (MINAR 4) focusing on biosignatures in the deep subsurface.  The campaign includes representatives from the Chinese Academy of Space Technology as well as universities across the UK and scientists from the Spanish Centre for Astrobiology.


Astrobiology Summer Academy off to its fourth year

The Centre’s Astrobiology Summer Academy is off to its fourth year. On July 4-6 2016, teachers from across the UK will come to Edinburgh to learn about astrobiology, write lesson plans and contribute towards putting astrobiology into the secondary school curriculum.


The Academy began in 2013 and since then over 1,500 teachers have accessed lesson plans from the initiative and over 50 teachers have taken part in the CPD event. Next year, the academy will be offering one day CPD events in astrobiology to teachers across the UK.


The web site for the initiative is at



MINAR 4 to study ancient salt deposits

The Centre is undertaking its 4th MINAR campaign in the Boulby Mine in July 2016. This year the  MINAR programme will focus on studying ancient salt deposits and the biosignatures contained within them. Where are the best places to look in an ancient evaporite sequence for signs of life and how can we better develop technology for mining?


The campaign will involve members of the Universities of Leicester, Edinburgh, Madrid, the Spanish Centre for Astrobiology and the European Science Foundation. We will also host visitors from the Chinese Academy for Space Technology, including three of their staff involved in developing Mars missions. For more on the MINAR programme follow this link.