Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunday, July 26: First full day in the field

The Spaceward Bound Arctic 2008 expedition's science goals include looking at a potential relic spring, where spring water may have existed in a previous geological era.  Since we will study the mineralogy and microbiology of a current spring, Gypsum Springs, and given the likelihood we won't find active springs on Mars, studying the mineralogy and microbiology of the site of a long-ago spring will give human researchers an idea, or a template, for searching for relic springs on Mars.  What do you think of this?

We plugged GPS coordinates for the potential spring site, and began a day-long hike out and back to the target area. This involved an initial descent towards the terminus, or end of, Thompson Glacier.  The scenery reminded the team why field science is so thrilling.  Muddy water cascaded and roared its way out of the leading edge of the glacier above thick, tall, dark layers of terminal moraine detritus.  

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