Meeting Location and Date
The 2nd International Planetary Caves Conference will be held October 20–23, 2015, at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Purpose and Scope
Since the 1960s, researchers, examining low resolution imagery, have speculated about the presence of caves on the Moon and Mars. In 2007, researchers confirmed the first cave-like features on the Red Planet. To date, planetary scientists have identified more than 200 lunar and over 2,000 martian cave-like features. The occurrence of caves (in either host rock or ice) on other planetary bodies in our solar system is reasonable.
Extraterrestrial caves will be high-priority targets for future robotic and human missions. Accurate identification and selection of candidate caves will be desirable for the establishment of astronaut shelters (temporary or permanent) on both the Moon and Mars. Martian caves may provide access to the deep subsurface where evidence of life is most likely to be preserved (provided life evolved on Mars), as well as significant water ice deposits for human consumption and for potentially generating hydrogen fuel to return humans to Earth.
The 2nd International Planetary Caves Conference will continue the exchange of knowledge and ideas between scientists and engineers. Topics include (1) lunar and martian cave-like features; (2) the types of speleogenic features that may be encountered on other planetary bodies; (3) the potential to search for subterranean volatiles and biological signatures; (4) robotic access and exploration; and (5) technologies required for human habitation. Additionally, the conference will provide a forum to discuss the longer-term objective of developing a strategy for research and robotic exploration of caves across the solar system — focusing primarily on the Moon and Mars.
The conference will consist of oral and poster presentations, formal and informal discussions, and a one-day field trip to local area caves. Given the broad scope, interdisciplinary nature, and strong international interest, we encourage scientists and engineers with relevant theoretical, experimental, and/or field experience to attend.