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The Sort of Status Report People Might Send Back From Mars

By Keith Cowing
November 28, 2018
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The Sort of Status Report People Might Send Back From Mars

Astrobiologist Dale Andersen Antarctic Status Report 28 November 2018: Dive Hole Melting Issues
“The hole melter was returned, but unfortunately it still does not work properly and we are unable to use it to make a dive hole or melt out the light sensors we left in the water column last year. And while I am disappointed we will not be working underwater, we have moved on to other important areas of work that will occupy our time during the next two weeks. Over the last several days we drilled additional holes in the south basin as part of an effort to increase the accuracy of the bathymetry map for the lake, and to make measurements of ice-thickness; the ice-thickness data are to be used to model variations in ablation across the lake. We also used one hole to obtain samples with an Ekman dredge from the deepest point (100 m) in the south basin. These samples are currently having DNA and RNA extracted and preserved for genomic studies that will take place in the coming months and other subsamples are being preserved for additional geochemical analyses as well.”
2018 reports
2017 reports
Keith’s note: Dale Andersen and I worked together at the old NASA HQ Life Science Division in the 1980s. He and I have been reporting from/about remote polar and alpine regions for more than 30 years – Dale much more than I. Indeed, we think that we may well have had the first webserver in the U.S. directly updated from Antarctica back in 1997 – that website is still online here. You might find “How We Built This Website” of interest given the way such things are done today. Alas, other than my website and the SETI Institute, NASA’s Astrobiology outreach people totally ignore this on-going research.
One expedition often leads to another. Something one person does resonates with something someone else does – some times years or decades later. Many times the place where you are takes on a name as a result. Those fleeting moments when these things coalesce and resonate is what makes these arduous expeditions worth the effort. Hopefully this tradition will continue when humans one day set foot again on the Moon, then Mars and elsewhere. In The View From Wharton Ridge, earlier post
“Today I learned that a feature on the surface of Mars has been named after a friend of mine. This was not unexpected since I knew that his name was in the queue waiting for just the right feature to be discovered by the Opportunity rover. “Wharton Ridge” is named after Robert A. Wharton (Bob). Bob was born a few years before me in 1951 and died unexpectedly in 2012. I worked with Bob at the old Life Sciences Division at NASA Headquarters in the late 1980s.
During 1996/1997 Dale Andersen and I set up what we think is one of the first – if not the first – website updated from Antarctica where he and Bob were doing field research. One of the pictures he sent back was just too cool: Dale, Bob and Sir Edmund Hillary at their base camp at Lake Hoare in Taylor Valley. I was always taken with that photo – indeed it was part of what inspired me to take a companion photo of “Sir Ed” 13 years later in Nepal – with an Apollo 11 moon rock in my hand.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.