A land rover will begin an extensive exploration of the Houston area’s aquifer and potential aquifer resources in the coming months, with the mission set to be the first of its kind.
The land rover, called the Houston-based Exploration Exploration Rover (HERO), will begin drilling and sampling the aquifer in the Houston metropolitan area and the Harris County, Texas, area on Oct. 19, 2020, said Tom Gaffney, program manager for NASA’s Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters.
The drilling, sampling and mapping of the aquifers will be conducted in two phases: first phase will be for the exploration of potential aquifures that are currently being explored by other NASA missions, Gaffey said.
Second phase will begin with a detailed analysis of the potential aquisities that exist in the Harris and Houston-area.
It will also include studying the potential for aquifer deposits and associated geology in the region, Gaffeney said.HERO will conduct exploration for up to six months.
The team will also conduct a number of other activities, including surveying and mapping, conducting a detailed aerial survey of the area and studying the effects of atmospheric moisture and precipitation on the water table, Giffey said in a news release.HEROM will be able to collect samples and measurements from various parts of the Harris-area, and will be ready to travel on its exploration mission by the end of 2020, Gafney said in the release.NASA’s Astrobiology Exploration Laboratory (AEL) is a joint effort between the agency and the European Space Agency (ESA) that will carry out the search for life in the universe.
The HERO mission is expected to provide an unprecedented look at the Earth and its atmosphere and its geological and biological processes.
The HERO team is comprised of scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.