2003 Annual Science Report
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Reporting | JUL 2002 – JUN 2003
Astrobiology Funding to US Geological Survey
Visible to near-infrared reflectance data have been collected for hyperthermal mat communities and sinter associated with springs in Yellowstone National Park. Springs with a range of temperatures and acidities have been samples in order to examine a range of environments. Target sites include Octopus Spring, Black Sand Pool, Nymph Creek, Lemonade Creek, Norris Basin, and Mammoth areas. Reflectance spectra are acquired using a portable field spectrometer with an artificial light source. Data are collected of the mat in situ as well as on pieces of the mat that have been removed from the water. Each of the major mat communities that have been examined has a diagnostic spectral signature that is produced from its unique combination of chlorophylls, bacteriochlorophylls, and carotenoids. The variations between major communities is large compared with the variation within a community. Spectra acquired of the same type of community occurring at different springs show the same absorptions. Data have also been acquired of active and inactive sinter materials. These data show that the sinter retain some degree of the organic absorptions even after the mat ceases to be active.