Thursday, October 14, 2010

Getting ready

The next grand adventure is about to get underway. I'm currently in the middle of last minute preparations for a field trip not only to Alaska, but also to Taylor Valley in Antarctica!

To get you up to speed, my current research project is focused on the lakes near Barrow, Alaska. Our team is one component of a larger NASA Astrobiology Institute project focused on Icy Worlds. Which means, we get to study icy habitats (like frozen lakes) and figure out how to detect life on extraterrestrial icy worlds like Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter. We previously ventured out in April, at the end of winter when there was lots of ice on the lakes.

This time, we're heading up at the end of October right when things are beginning to freeze so that we can examine the differences in ice, water, and sediment characteristics and microbiology.

Three days after I return from Alaska, I am headed to Christchurch, New Zealand- the intermediate stop on the way to McMurdo Station. I'll be down there for almost 3 months, helping out a team of researchers who have been performing research on lakes in the Dry Valleys. I'll also be able to run some experiments of my own focused on comparing bacteria from opposite ends of the earth.

In the mean time, I've stumbled across a tempting Space Craft Contest over at No time for me to participate, but I can't wait to see what people submit.

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