Episode 9: How Will We Communicate with Astronauts on Mars?

Meet the Expert: Darlene Lim

Geobiologist and Principal investigator of human scientific exploration of our solar system (Mars) with NASA  

Darlene Lim, PhD, is a geobiologist based at the NASA Ames Research Center, and is actively involved in the development of operational concepts for human scientific exploration of our solar system.  She is also the PI (Principal Investigator) of the BASALT research program, the Deputy PI of the NASA SSERVI ‘Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration’ (FINESSE) research program, and the PI of the Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP). The research programs that Dr. Lim leads are focused on blending field science research with the development of capabilities and concepts for future human spaceflight into deep space and Mars.

She has spent over 20 years leading field research programs around the world – from the Arctic to the Antarctic, in various underwater environments piloting submersibles or diving as a scientist and explorer, in volcanic settings such as those in Hawai`i and Idaho, deserts of all sorts, and now, the deep sea. Jacques Cousteau, Amelia Earhart and Karen Kain were her childhood heros for different and similar reasons. In the case of Cousteau, his incredible documentaries were an inspiration, and SUBSEA is, without exaggeration, a dream come true for her.

What does all this mean? Dr. Lim conducts COOL experiments ON EARTH

to help us figure out how humans will work/communicate on Mars!


Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Photo from Pavillion Lake Research Proje




Astronaut Chris Hadfield called Dr. Darlene one of the 50 Brightest Minds!

Listen to her talk about her work helping get people to Mars HERE








 Keep a daily diary during the pandemic and write down what you do, or draw pictures of what is going on in your life. Write down some fun things that make you happy! This is something the astronauts will have to do as they travel for 7 months to get to Mars.

With your parents permission, send us one of your pictures via email at podcast@solveitforkids.com OR

tag us on our Twitter or Instagram account @kidssolve

If you send in your challenge OR just leave a comment below about the episode, you will be entered into a giveaway to win a FREE copy of the book listed below.




FREE BOOK for this Episode!

Welcome to Mars!  by Buzz Aldrin with Marianne J. Dyson (NGKids)

Space is still the final frontier and Mars continues to make news and attract generations of young people. In this fascinating book, hero-astronaut Buzz Aldrin challenges curious kids to think about Mars as not just a faraway red planet but as a possible future home for Earthlings!

What will your new home be like? How will you get there? What will you eat for breakfast? Find out what life might be like far, far from Earth as you navigate your way through this fun and fascinating book. What kid wouldn’t want to blast off with him on this (literary) journey!




Book List:

Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact by Jennifer Swanson (Expert Darlene Lim included here!), NGKids

The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch, HMH BFYR

Mars: Explore the mysteries of the Red Planet by DK Children

Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum, Candelwick Press


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