Extreme environments on Earth often provide similar terrain conditions to landing/operation sites on Moon and Mars. Several field campaigns (EuroGeoMars2009 and DOMMEX/ILEWG EuroMoonMars from November 2009 to March 2010) were conducted at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah. Some of the key astrobiology results are presented in this special issue on 'Astrobiology field research in Moon/Mars analogue environments' relevant to investigate the link between geology, minerals, organics and biota. Preliminary results from a multidisciplinary field campaign at Rio Tinto in Spain are presented. © 2011 Cambridge University Press.