A flagship facility of the UKCA is the Boulby International Subsurface Astrobiology Laboratory (BISAL). This is the Centre’s underground astrobiology lab.
Astrobiology and related space science activities that have been initiated at Boulby as a result of this activity are listed here.
BISAL is being used as a basis for conducting analogue research in the deep subsurface for the testing of space technology and technology transfer into the mining environment. This is done with the MINAR programme.
BISAL is a microbiology laboratory located at 1.1 km depth in the Boulby Mine in Yorkshire, UK. It was established by UKCA in collaboration with Cleveland Potash (CPL) in conjunction with STFC’s existing Dark Matter lab, The Palmer Laboratory.
BISAL is the world’s first permanent deep subsurface astrobiology laboratory and one of the deepest permanent labs capable of carrying out microbiology. The lab has been funded by the STFC Futures Programme.
BISAL is a fully internet connected air conditioned laboratory that will be capable of being used for basic microbiology and sample preparation and analysis.
At BISAL we:
- Investigate life in deep subsurface salts
- Investigate geochemically active zones in the deep subsurface
- Study biosignatures of life and their longevity in the deep subsurface
- Test instrumentation and rovers for the robotic and human exploration of other planets
BISAL in relation to other deep subsurface laboratories
|International Subsurface Astrobiology Laboratory, Boulby, UK||1.1 km||Permian salt|
|Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, Ontario||2.07 km||Granite|
|Laboratoire Souterrain de Modane, France||1.75 km||Schist|
|Gran Sasso National Laboratory, Italy||1.4 km||Dolomite and limestone|
|Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, Sweden||500 m||Dorite, granite and greenstone|