All Blog Posts (91)

Finding Sustainability in Unexpected Places

Imagine that its 6 am in the building where you work. In the vacant hallways, the lights suddenly flicker on. The air conditioning kicks in with the sound of fans whirring to life. Laboratory fume hoods resume their daily battle with the air handlers, playing tug-o-war between the room’s air temperature and the thermostat…

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Added by Gina Riggio on April 2, 2015 at 6:22pm — No Comments

Fire and Ice: Starting Up the Snowball

I attended a talk last week by Francis Macdonald, discussing his work on Snowball Earth geology. He touched on the "Fire and Ice" hypothesis for the initiation of the Snowball, and I thought I would interpret it in ballad form. Needs a little work and maybe another verse, so feel free to critique. 

In late Proterozoic times 

the Earth was calm and warm

A billion peaceful years since the

Great…

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Added by Regina Carns on February 17, 2015 at 10:23pm — No Comments

First Contact: NJ Middle School Students Meet Microbes Face-to-Face

Yesterday I participated in a fun day of microbial outreach organized by the fabulous students of the Rutgers ASM (American Society for Microbiology) Graduate Student Chapter. The outreach event included about 40 students from grades 5-8, the perfect time to be exposed to real-live microbes! We started with a…

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Added by Mrinalini Nikrad on February 8, 2015 at 5:30am — 2 Comments

Self-defense

Well, that was a somewhat protracted hiatus. I think my muse was in hibernation. In any case, she rose to the occasion when I defended my Ph.D. a couple of weeks ago, and here's how I summed up my talk: 

“Measured and modeled albedos of sea-ice surfaces on the oceans of Snowball Earth”

A planet orbits round a yellow sun

Light years away or megayears ago

Its seas are dark, its continent is dun

But brilliant sea ice sets its pole aglow

Its CO2…

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Added by Regina Carns on January 30, 2015 at 6:12pm — 2 Comments

Intermission

Intermission - The drive to Geysir

Geysir, the biggest tourist spot in Iceland, is located about an hour and half drive east of Reykjavik on the highway, but because we were coming from further north in Vesturland, our path took us across roads that made for arguably the most epic drive I have taken (driving Western Australia's Pilbara Craton is a close second). This drive took us on Icelandic "F roads",…

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Added by Sanjoy Som on August 4, 2014 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Site 3 - Landbrotalaug, Snaefellsness Peninsula

Site 3 - Landbrotalaug, Snaefellsness Peninsula



Our third site was the rather unassuming site of Landbrotalaug. It is located on the Snaefellsness Peninsula, made famous by Jules Verne in his book "Journey to the Center of the Earth". There, the Snaefells volcano, situated near the tip of the peninsula, is actually the entrance!

What is interesting about Snaefells is that the rocks are a bit…

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Added by Sanjoy Som on July 23, 2014 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Site 2 - Deildarthunguhver in Vesturland

Site 2 - Deildarthunguhver in Vesturland

After the muddy waters of Seltun, I was looking forward to some clearer waters to sample. I got my wish granted at Deidarthunguhver. This hot spring is extraordinary. Water emerges out of the rock bubbling and fountaining furiously at 98C, at the highest flow rate in Europe. 198 liters / second (52 gallons per second)! …

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Added by Sanjoy Som on July 16, 2014 at 11:00am — No Comments

Site 1 - Seltun

Site 1 - Seltun, Reykjanes Peninsula

After loading our trusty 4x4 Suzuki Jimny with our sampling gear, we headed off heading west from Reykjavik. Leaving the highway to go in the direction of Kruysuvik, the paved road soon ended (I love that about Iceland, the driving is always so much fun!). Thankfully the rain had stopped by the time we got to our destination, which was…

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Added by Sanjoy Som on July 11, 2014 at 10:45am — No Comments

In the last stretch of the HI-SEAS Mission

Hello,



Well time has once again escaped me and the rest of the HI-SEAS crew as we find ourselves with 19 days left inside our simulated Martian home. As we begin to wrap up all of our projects, papers, and final outreach activities the crew has achieved a state jovial exhaustion coupled with some mild panic at the growing to do lists.



Even with our long days and short nights the crew has still been finding time to explore the local terrain and this morning performed a…

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Added by Tiffany Swarmer on July 7, 2014 at 4:22pm — No Comments

Iceland 2014 - Overview

Iceland 2014 - Overview of field work

In 2014, I was very lucky to be a recipient of the Lewis and Clarke Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology. The fund is awarded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute and the American Philosophical Society (more info here). My proposal involved sampling six hydrothermal sites (fancy…

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Added by Sanjoy Som on July 7, 2014 at 11:30am — 2 Comments

A Moment for Celebration and Clarity

Upon waking my first thought was of home. Right now at home I would be waking up to the insistent, but loving cold nose of my half husky puppy informing me that it is time for a long jog. I would grab my running shoes, my pup’s leash, and some dried fruit as I head out the door for a nice long sunrise run. Like normal I would watch the sun coming up over the tree tops of my favorite park, feel the cool breeze mixing with the heat of the first rays of sunlight, and know that sense of…

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Added by Tiffany Swarmer on June 7, 2014 at 9:00am — 2 Comments

The Art of Preparing for an Analog EVA (HI-SEAS)

The air pumping into the helmet is cool and refreshing, with just a tinge of plastic smell, my torso is cool thanks to cool water running through the tubing in a garment known as a liquid cooling garment. Entering into our airlock I seal the main habitat off from the Airlock by connecting the Velcro on one layer and zipping shut the second.  Turning I can see my EVA companions one, like me, in a fifty pound University…

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Added by Tiffany Swarmer on May 20, 2014 at 6:38am — No Comments

Drilling: How you do it, and our drilling status on the JOIDES EXP 350

When we had our orientation of the ship, we were shuffled along many different parts of the boat and had all these ship terms and drilling terms thrown at us. It was overwhelming, to say the least. I know a lot of the science team felt overwhelmed by the terminology as well! I would imagine a drilling specialist would feel the same way sitting in on a science meeting. Through the kind heart of the Operations Superintendent, Kevin Grigar (whom you’ll meet in a future blog), and others, I’ve got… Continue

Added by Julia DeMarines (Teaspoon) on May 6, 2014 at 4:26pm — No Comments

Happy Earth Day from the Philippine Sea!

Hey SAGANet friends! 

I hope you all had an excellent Earth Day on April 22nd. Did you all hug a tree, ride a bike or read the Pale Blue Dot monologue by our main man Carl Sagan? I tried to hug a tree, but my arms wouldn’t reach (clearly I’m awesome at jokes). Although I’m really far away from land,…

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Added by Julia DeMarines (Teaspoon) on April 24, 2014 at 10:08am — 3 Comments

I'm on a BOAT!... well technically, it's a ship.

Hey SAGANet friends! Julia here, I'm one of your admins and normally I operate out of Denver, Colorado, but currently I find myself on a ship in the Pacific Ocean just under Tokyo, Japan. I’m onboard a drilling ship called the JOIDES Resolution acting as one of two Education Officers on Expedition 350 – Izu-Bonin-Mariana Rear Arc.

 …

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Added by Julia DeMarines (Teaspoon) on April 14, 2014 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Week 2 understanding your limits

A Brief Look at how Analog Space Suits Help to Develop Future of Planetary Extra Vehicular Activities

The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) study currently being conducted on the slopes of Mauna Loa focuses on human factors and group cohesion. Both of these focuses are vitally important for Extra Vehicular Activities (EVAs) and for future planetary exploration; providing constraints that could make or break a mission. The Apollo missions broadened humanities…

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Added by Tiffany Swarmer on April 13, 2014 at 6:38pm — No Comments

AAAS-CASE and some thoughts on science funding

Last Thursday I had a great conversation with some BMSIS researchers during the monthly Beer with BMSIS about science funding and academic salaries.  I posted a quick blog article on the subject and decided to try cross posting here.  My apologies if its a bit off topic, but I hope people find it interesting.  I couldn't get the figs to formal right, if you want to see them the original post can be found…

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Added by Jeff Bowman on April 7, 2014 at 10:30pm — No Comments

Week 1 at the HI-SEAS Habitat!

The first official week of the 4 month HI-SEAS mission occurred Saturday April 5th and was celebrated with a much needed day of half rest. Week one was filled with setting up our new home and adjusting our mind sets from instantly having knowledge only an internet search away to informational access being a full 20 minute delay one way. After the initial period of adjustment the crew busily began settling in and connected internal network servers, repaired Extra Vehicular Activity…

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Added by Tiffany Swarmer on April 6, 2014 at 1:08pm — 2 Comments

The Arrival and Meet of the HI-SEAS 2 Crew

The official first day of training began this morning and for the first time all six crew members were meeting face to face. After months of talking through Skype, instant messaging and on the phone we were all together and ready to tackle the first day of training. The morning began with a brief physical fitness session and some breakfast followed by a 9:00 AM briefing about the main focus of the 120 day Mars simulation study.

This study is funded by NASA and is a 1.2 million dollar…

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Added by Tiffany Swarmer on March 22, 2014 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulations (HI-SEAS) Mission 2

Hello, my name is Tiffany Swarmer and I am one of six crew members preparing to enter a 120 day simulation in an analog habitat on the slopes of Mauna Loa, Hawaii. This mission is intended to study the various human factors that contribute to crew/astronaut function during an isolated mission to Mars. Along with studying human factors many technologies such as Google glass, 3-D printing, Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) equipment, exercise clothing, and many more technologies will be…

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Added by Tiffany Swarmer on March 19, 2014 at 11:36am — 1 Comment

Mentorship

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SAGANet Mentoring Labs bring scientists to your classroom. Interested?

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External blogs we like

The 'Ask an Astrobiologist' Series

Next Episode: 13 July 2017

Featuring Dr. Alexis Templeton

Alexis Templeton is the Principal Investigator of the Rock-Powered Life team with the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). She is a geomicrobiologist with expertise in microbe/mineral interactions, biomineralization, chemical imaging, spectroscopy, and isotope geochemistry.

Our next episode of Ask an Astrobiologist features an interview with Dr. Templeton and Dr. Sanjoy Som. Watch live on SAGANLive and remember to share your questions to Twitter with #AskAstrobio.

Click on the Ask an Astrobiologist logo below to access recordings of older episodes!

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