The Atacama Project is a collaborative and international investigation with the objective to investigate the dry limit of life. The Atacama Desert is one of the best analog sites to test for habitable environments on Mars (HOME). In April 2015 we conducted our first field season investigating a moisture-transect in the Atacama Desert and some specialized habitats that are known to exist near some of the driest sites. Samples were collected from selected sites, which are currently analyzed using a variety of geochemical, mineralogical, physical and microbiological methods. The investigations are conducted by a consortium of research groups from Europe, North America, and South America. In June 2015 we installed sensors at some of these sites for long-term monitoring of relative humidity and meteorological parameters, and in March 2016 we collected additional samples.
The Atacama Project is supported in part by the European Research Council HOME (Habitability of Martian Environments) Grant (#339231). Additional support is provided by the collaborating research groups.
ERC Advanced Grant 339231
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 339231.