The foundation supported three expeditions in its inaugural year, including a project at the Earth’s south pole, a project in Russia and a study of underground life in Mexico. Total support was $750
Caving expedition helping astronaut selection
Category : Use of Earth’s extreme environments to help prepare for the exploration of space
Institution : University of Texas, USA
Interactions between people in extreme environments on Earth can help us select crews for human missions to other planets. This expedition studied personality interactions between team members during extreme, long duration isolation on an international caving expedition in Mexico. The team were studied pre- and post-expedition using the U.S. Astronaut selection battery to evaluate psychological interactions. Data was used to advise on astronaut selection criteria.
Valuable information on team interactions was gathered. It is now part of a database that is used to improve ways of picking compatible astronaut crews.
“One Step Beyond” – International Expedition to the Antarctic
Category : Education linking Earth and space exploration
Institution : Robert Swan Foundation, UK
A twenty nation international Antarctic expedition lead by polar explorer, Robert Swan, the first person to reach both poles on foot. The expedition involved young explorers and undertook a series of projects on the Antarctic. They walked 1,300 kilometers to the South Pole, using satellite technologies to achieve the expedition objectives.
Understanding the Earth 2 billion years ago
Category : Exobiology
Institution : Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
The expedition studied the changes in the Earth’s biosphere in the Proterozoic Eon, some 2,500 to 545 million years ago (Ma). The expedition involved Harvard University, MIT and the Russian Academy of Sciences [Geological Institute]. The expedition returned large numbers of ancient rocks from riverbed strata in Russia. These institutes used these samples to improve their knowledge of the early Earth.