Dinosaur Provincial Park was graced by a special pair of visitors, Dr. Pan Conrad and Dina Bower of the Planetary Environments Laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland. 
 
"This is a project that they came to us with and quite frankly, I was a little bit surprised when they contacted us. From my point of view, Dinosaur Provincial Park doesn't look anything like Mars as one could imagine," stated Dave Eberth with the Royal Tyrrell Museum. 
 
The land where the two NASA scientists visited has a volcanic ash deposit, which is something that Eberth mentioned is used for radiometric dating.
 
"These are deposits that were blown out by giant volcanoes during the age of dinosaurs. These kinds of deposits are very similar to what they find on the surface of Mars and they are very interested in testing their equipment to see if they can get around in a place like Dinosaur Provincial Park using their Mars rover and drilling equipment to sample these similar deposits," Eberth explained.
 
"So they were just so excited by everything they were seeing with the dinosaurs and we were excited because we were learning a lot about what they're up to and what they want to do with their Mars project."
 
Dave Eberth has spend many years studying the volcanic material, which is one reason why the NASA scientists came to him. 
 
"I was able to take them to a number localities where they were able to grab samples and do some laboratory tests when they got home. They were very pleased with the results, they are going to be able to use their tools and equipment on one of the rovers to actually get some age results from the volcanic deposits that are on Mars."
 
For right now, this is all a resonance stage and the NASA team is still evaluating a number of other potential places around the world. 
 
"It still remains to be seen whether they'll come back and do the next level of putting the rover on the ground to do some remote drilling," added Eberth. 
 
More information can be found through this link
 
 

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