Applications to Participate Now Open!
02 Sep 2022





MINAR XI: Astrobiology, Robotics and Planetary Exploration Field Event, 30th October - 10th November 2023

The STFC Boulby Underground Laboratory is home to a unique facility with access to ancient salts and extreme environments in a working mine. Since 2013, it has hosted the Mine Analogue Research (MINAR) Programme, in partnership with the UK Centre for Astrobiology in Edinburgh, the Department of Planetary Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, NASA-JPL, the University of York, the University of Birmingham, the University of Teesside and STFC Rutherford Appleton Lab. MINAR brings together scientists from a range of fields to test technologies for planetary exploration, especially those that could have a synergy with sustainable and environmentally sensitive mining on Earth. 

These technologies have included prototype planetary rovers, life detection equipment, gas detection equipment and 3D structural geology mapping equipment for mines and lunar lava tubes from UK universities, NASA and ESA. MINAR also supports scientific studies of life in extreme underground environments with relevance to understanding the limits of Earth's biosphere and the search for life elsewhere, and education and outreach activities that align with these science and technology objectives. It is especially interested in science, technology and education activities that align with STFC priorities. ​

Participation in MINAR XI

We invite participants to the 11th MINAR field event at Boulby Mine and Boulby Underground Lab, NE England from the 30th of October to the 10th of November 2023. MINAR events provide opportunity and support for participating groups to undertake field research in the deep underground (1.1km) environments of Boulby mine, supported by the Boulby underground Laboratory. The geology and environments at Boulby (~250Myr old Permian evaporites such as NaCl, KCl and more) in a working Polyhalite and salt mine provide an excellent environment for studies of:

  • Astrobiology
  • Robotics and AI in extreme environments
  • Beyond Earth Planetary Exploration Technology Development

Please use contact details below to express interest in attending. Note: limited support funding to participate in MINAR-XI is available. To apply see information following.​​

​The STFC is offering pump-priming grants to cover travel and accommodation for new groups interested in exploring the science, technology and outreach potential of Boulby and establishing links with the facility. Grants are on the order of £1,500 each and are to help cover costs for visits to the facility to perform fieldwork during MINAR XI.


To apply or for further details please contact​​

Contact: Paling, Sean (STFC,Boulby Mine,PPD)