Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Monday, July 28 rendezvous with Canadian Space Agency Team at Gypsum Springs

The NASA portion of the Spaceward Bound Arctic 2008 team hiked from Upper Base Camp
to Gypsum Springs where we met our Canadian Space Agency (CSA) colleagues and received briefings on the microbiology, mineralogy and underlying geology of the springs area.  These springs are of great interest to Chris McKay because different spring outlets, just a few meters apart (a meter is about equal to 3 feet), have temperature differences of up to 5 or 6 degrees C.  Why should springs so close together have such drastic temperature differences?  Of great interest is what the rocks underneath the springs are like.  So, after recording the temperatures of the various spring outlets, 

and mapping their latitudes and longitudes with GPS, we are excited to find out our CSA friends will deploy a seismometer in an attempt to "see" below the ground.  They will analyze this data when we all return from the Arctic, and help Chris try to determine if different below-ground structures help direct the springs in such a way as to explain why the water temperatures are so very different even though the springs water outlets are so very close together.  It's as if we'll have x-ray vision to see what is beneath the springs!

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