The Mojave Desert
Located primarily in Eastern California, the Mojave Desert spans over 47,000 square miles (124,000 km2). Elevations range from the lowest in the western hemisphere, with Badwater in Death Valley at -282 feet (-86m), to over 11,900 feet (over 3,633m) at Charleston Peak.
The Mojave is convenient to visit from most locations in the southwestern United States. It is within easy driving distance of the major metropolitan area of Los Angeles, CA. Las Vegas, NV is the largest city located within the Mojave Desert, and the US Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps all maintain facilities within the Desert. The Mojave is also home to three national parks, a California state park, and numerous ghost towns and other tourist attractions.
Life in the Mojave
The common perception of deserts as barren, inhospitable places is quickly abandoned after a visit to the Mojave. Life has found a way to flourish even in one of the planet's most challenging environments. Extreme temperatures, scarce water, and even human activities make the desert a difficult place to live. In spite of this, environments from sand dunes to lava flows are home to bighorn sheep, cougars, birds, tortoises, coyotes, a variety of insects, and more. Iconic Joshua Trees and forbidding barrel cacti dot the landscape, and spectacular desert storms roll across the landscape with surprising intensity. The creatures and plants of the desert have evolved perfectly for their beautiful and unique home.
Mission Mojave 2014
Mission Mojave will target a square kilometer of the Mojave Desert for cataloging, analysis, and eventual replication of the environment. We are currently in the process of choosing suitable site locations and recruiting researchers. Our field operations base will be the Desert Studies Center located near Baker, California at Soda Springs, and our first field season will commence in March 2014. In preparation, we are attending the 2013 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco (December 9-13), and we will be hosting a Pre-Fieldwork conference for Blueprint Earth researchers in Los Angeles during February 2014.