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2002 Annual Science Report

NASA Johnson Space Center Reporting  |  JUL 2001 – JUN 2002

Cold Regions Microbial Ecology and Biomarkers

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Water emerging from springs in glaciers in the Canadian Arctic has been identified as containing bacterial cell and biofilms. These deposits of yellow and white minerals are formed on the surface as the water evaporates. These deposits include gypsum and sulfur. The water is no more than 1-2 degrees C and the microbes may be growing in the plumbing system of the glacier interior. Such occurrences in terrestrial glaciers may be mirrored on Mars during periods when the polar ice caps are melting or retreating. We will continue to study the products from spring eruptions in Arctic glaciers, including analysis of bimolecular techniques.

    Carlton Allen
    Project Investigator

    Steven Grasby

    John Lisle

    Teresa Longazo

    Kathie Thomas-Keprta

    Susan Wentworth

    Objective 7.0
    Identify the environmental limits for life by examining biological adaptations to extremes in environmental conditions.

    Objective 8.0
    Search for evidence of ancient climates, extinct life and potential habitats for extant life on Mars.

    Objective 17.0
    Refine planetary protection guidelines and develop protection technology for human and robotic missions.