2002 Annual Science Report
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Reporting | JUL 2001 – JUN 2002
Astrobiology Funding to US Geological Survey
The objectives have been to characterize the visible-near infrared reflectance spectra of hyperthermophile communities and associated carbonate and silica sinter deposits in Yellowstone National Park. The various communities do have characteristic spectra with absorptions controlled by compounds such as chlorophyll, bacteriochlorophyll and carotenoids. Spectra have been collected at Octopus and Mushroom Spring, Nymph Creek, Mammoth and in the Norris Geyser Basin. The Synechococcus, Chloroflexus, Phormidium, and Cyanidium communities each have a unique spectral signature. These characteristic spectra have been used as a predictive tool in the examination of additional acidic and alkaline springs in the White Creek and Norris Basin areas. Sinter often contains absorption suggesting the presence of biologic materials embedded within.