Lake Bonney in Antarctica

ENDURANCE has been funded through NASA's ASTEP pro­gram.

Its goals are to:

- further biological re­search in the ter­res­trial en­vi­ron­ments analo­gous to those found on other planets,

- develop tech­nologies that enable remote searches for, and identification of, life in extreme environments

- perform a systems - level field campaign designed to demon­strate and vali­date the science and tech­nology in extreme environ­ments on Earth. (Astro­biology Science and Tech­nology for Ex­ploring the Planets) Program.


Floor of Lake Bonney

We are deploying an in­stru­men­ted AUV (Auto­nomous Under­water Ve­hicle) into ice-covered Lake Bonney in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica to test two hy­potheses:

Hypothesis 1:
The low kinetic energy of the system (diffusion dominates the spatial trans­port of constituents) produces an eco­system and eco­system limits that vary sig­nificant­ly in three di­mensions.

Hypothesis 2:
The whole - lake physical and bio­geochemical structure remains static from year to year.

The AUV will also allow us to:

Produce a detailed 3D map of sub-surface West Lake Bonney.

Produce a detailed 3D map of the sub-surface face of Taylor glacier with high resolution photos mosaiced onto the mesh.



The ENDURANCE AUV is being built by Stone Aerospace in Austin Texas, and is based off of an earlier vehicle known as DepthX.

ENDURANCE spent a week in February 2008 in Madison Wisconsin being field tested in ice-covered Lake Mendota

ENDURANCE is spending December 2008 deployed in Antarctica.


Electronic Visual­ization Laboratory

Once the data has been collected it will be visualized using a variety of 2D and 3D high - resolution display tech­nologies at the Elec­tronic Visual­ization Labor­atory at the University of Illinois at Chicago.