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Desert Research and Technology Studies (Desert RATS)
February 6, 2013

Desert RATS crew member walks toward the Space Exploration Vehicle

The high-desert terrain and isolation of northern Arizona provides an ideal backdrop for the development and testing of spaceflight equipment and technology. NASA's Desert Research and Technology Studies (Desert RATS) are carried out at a series of experimental sites within a 75-mile radius of Flagstaff, with the area around Winslow, Arizona's Meteor Crater site serving as a major research hub.

The arid climate, harsh winds, and rocky desert terrain of the region allow NASA to evaluate different conditions that will enable multiple destinations for future human exploration including high Earth orbit, Lagrange points, the Moon, near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), Mars moons, and ultimately the surface of Mars. Experiments and training conducted at the Desert RATS site focus on equipment and spacesuit tests, vehicular excursions and exploration, remote communication protocols, and astrogeology.

› Visit the Desert RATS website



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Page Last Updated: September 26th, 2013
Page Editor: Jeffrey Brief