By Michael Wald Co-owner and Guide
We don’t actually get to guide anyone on Mars but we have been working with some NASA funded scientist who are studying the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes in Kobuk Valley National Park. Apparently 10% of Mars is covered in sand dunes and scientist think the Kobuk Dunes are a good proxy to study what may be happening on Mars. If all the proposed projects get funded we will be spending several months in the dunes supporting scientific research in the coming years.
Here is what the Alaska Science Forum has to say about Martian research in Alaska:
By Ned Rozell
Alaska Science Forum
The Great Kobuk Sand Dunes are like Mars. Last March, guided by Alaska author and area resident Seth Kantner, Cynthia Dinwiddie of San Antonio traveled by snowmachine to the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes in northwest Alaska. Near Kobuk Valley National Park, she bunked for a few weeks at a cabin owned by Ambler resident Clarence Wood. The researcher from the Southwest Research Institute and a few of her colleagues dug several boreholes and pulled ground-penetrating radar sensors over the snow-covered dunes with snowmachines. The team sought to compare the unusual area with the surface of Mars. “Everything that this system represents you can find on Mars,” Dinwiddie said. “Dunes on Mars move slowly (due to winds) and so do dunes in the Kobuk Valley.” A surprise of the researchers’ visit was the discovery of unfrozen water beneath the dunes, at the base of the active layer (ground that freezes every winter, which in the dunes is from about four to 12 feet thick beneath the surface). “We found water everywhere,” Dinwiddie said.