All Blog Posts (120)

Sol 75: EVA Narrative: Canyon, Silence and Us

Sol 75 [8 December 2016]



Yesterday morning, Jon, Annalea, Anastasiya and I headed for another adventurous EVA. This EVA was supposed to be in semi-simulation because the sampling site was 75 km away from our habitat and generally accessible to the public. We started gearing up at 10 am. The EVA team entered into the airlock at 10:30 am and started depressurization. Since we were supposed to travel ~75 km, we took PEV (Pressurised Exploration Vehicle) to get to the location. This…

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Added by Anushree Srivastava on March 8, 2017 at 5:00am — No Comments

SOL 64: Gypsum Astrobiology

Sol 64 [27 November 2016]

On Earth, gypsum (CaSO4.2H2O) is deposited via evaporation of calcium and sulfate-rich water. Gypsum is fragile, mostly translucent and occurs as thick, sedimentary evaporite beds. It is fairly common mineral on Earth and can be found around the salt lakes, hot springs, and veins of sulfate solution. Since it is relatively easily dissolved in the water gypsum is rarely found at the surface except in deserts. In hydrothermal systems, gypsum can…

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Added by Anushree Srivastava on March 8, 2017 at 4:54am — No Comments

Sol 60 - How it all started and lessons learned

SOL 60 [23 November 2016]

What am I doing?! I think I’m trying to record hypolith abundance (Image Credit: Crew Geologist Dr Jon Clarke – and The Mars Society) 

My journey of MDRS started off as a volunteer. In 2014, I joined the MDRS Mission Support as a CapCom and that’s how I first…

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Added by Anushree Srivastava on March 4, 2017 at 6:45am — No Comments

SOL 52 - EVA Narrative: Challenges and Accomplishments

Sol 52 [15 November 2016]



Another intense EVA!



Today, Annalea, Anastasiya and I headed towards the field site at 9:17 in the morning. After gearing up, we went inside the EVA airlock, simulated depressurisation and egressed the hab. Our first task was to remove the two trash bags from the hab. This EVA was basically focused on collecting hypolith abundance data and taking the sample back for macroscopic measurements of hypolith colonies.

The first lesson learned…

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Added by Anushree Srivastava on March 4, 2017 at 6:45am — No Comments

SOL 60: Constraints of Science Operations on Mars: Lessons Extracted while Performing Mars Simulation

Sol 60 [23 November 2016]



We are performing Mars simulation in the Utah Desert and doing rigorous science on field during EVAs. However, sometimes your approaches are constrained in the heavy spacesuit and in absence of highly specialized equipment. That’s what I learned while conducting science operations in this simulation. A proper sample collection regime in sterilized conditions is the first and the most significant step before those samples are processed in the laboratory.…

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Added by Anushree Srivastava on March 4, 2017 at 6:30am — No Comments

Sol 20: Hours spent performing Extra Vehicular Activities so far!

Sol 20 [14 October 2016]

It is Sol 20, and after many strenuous extra-vehicular activities performed by the MARS 160 crew at MDRS, it is worth documenting and acknowledging how many hours the crew spent performing rigorous science and engineering activities. Our Executive Officer Yusuke Murakami did this exemplary job by generating this data for individual crew members. So, in totality, the entire crew spent 152 hours outside the “Martian” vehicle under the scorching…

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Added by Anushree Srivastava on February 27, 2017 at 12:00am — No Comments

Diaries of Mars 160 Twin Desert-Arctic Analog Mission Phase One and Crew 172 in Utah Desert

Hi, SAGANauts!

Here I am with some selected pieces from my diaries written over a period of three months as part of MARS 160 Twin Desert-Arctic Analog Mission and Crew 172. Mars 160 mission recently culminated its first phase at Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in the Utah Desert. The second and final phase of this Mars simulation mission will take place at Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) in the High Arctic this summer. Both FMARS and MDRS, founded and…

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Added by Anushree Srivastava on February 26, 2017 at 11:30pm — No Comments

C. Elegans (nematodes) in Space?

I am a university student who might have an opportunity to join a team sending a small rocket into space and it contains a couple experiments, one of which will be a culture of C. elegans. I know a bit about c. elegans and that they are sent to space as models of simple life, but I was wondering if someone could point me towards more profound space research on them.

Does anyone know about the experiments involving Caenorhabditis Elegans in space and what research could be done…

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Added by Will Sharpless on February 23, 2017 at 11:51am — 1 Comment

A Teaching Resource for a Computational Framework of the Value of Information in Origin of Life Questions

Information plays a critical role in complex biological systems. Complex systems like immune systems and

ant colonies co-ordinate heterogeneous components in a decentralized fashion. How do these distributed

decentralized systems function? One key component is how these complex systems efficiently process

information. These complex systems have an architecture for integrating and processing information coming…

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Added by soumya banerjee on December 29, 2016 at 12:42pm — No Comments

Oldest Eukaryotic body fossil

Eukaryotic organisms can be easily recognized in living cell by nucleus and mitochondria. However their recognition in fossils records are very difficult. Recently, in a scientific report, Scientists from India have reported oldest eukaryotic fossils from the >1.65 Ga old rocks of Vindhyan Supegroup, Central India. this report published in Journal of the PalaeontologIcal Society of India.  …

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Added by Veeru Kant Singh on August 22, 2016 at 6:12am — No Comments

New Peer Review Paradigms for Astrobiology and Origin of Life

Abstract

Scientific publishing is changing. More scientific papers are being published now than at any other time in history. The digital era is facilitating new publishing practices, such as preprint servers and Open Access journals. At the same time, there is a growing concern among scientists about integrity and equity of the peer review process as we know it. These new practices present the scientific community with an array of new opportunities, which may help…

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Added by Cole Mathis on June 15, 2016 at 11:30am — 3 Comments

Welcome to the Tardigrade Project

Welcome to the Tardigrade Project

Better Questions

From Rick Eyerdam

 I have just published a NASA history covering from NACA to the present days with the focus on NASA’s search for life in space, rather than the manned program. It is called: Exobiologists, Rocketeers and Engineers: Inside NASA’s Quest for Life in Space.

Because of the constraints of contemporary knowledge NASA searched incrementally for “life as we know it.” That was, of course, a moving…

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Added by Rick Eyerdam on May 2, 2016 at 9:42am — No Comments

You Know It When You See It

When trying to decipher the origins of life, there are many paths to follow. Chemical, physical, and occasionally for some, spiritual. For me, one of the most puzzling questions is what exactly defines life? It is a difficult philosophical question that is nearly unanswerable, and often not useful in studying the actual origins of life, but it is entertaining to postulate the different constraints that we place on what is “alive”. One simple designation is “You know it when you see it”, but…

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Added by Akshay Vijay on April 25, 2016 at 7:00pm — 2 Comments

You Know It When You See It

When trying to decipher the origins of life, there are many paths to follow. Chemical, physical, and occasionally for some, spiritual. For me, one of the most puzzling questions is what exactly defines life? It is a difficult philosophical question that is nearly unanswerable, and often not useful in studying the actual origins of life, but it is entertaining to postulate the different constraints that we place on what is “alive”. One simple designation is “You know it when you see it”, but…

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Added by Akshay Vijay on April 25, 2016 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Dogma and Paradigm Shifts

Considering this week’s discussion on the role of bias and dogma within science, I figured it would be best for me to write my post on the importance of philosophy and hypotheticals in science, especially in a field such as origin of life. This is a subject matter I somewhat understand and hopefully something the rest of might find a tad interesting.

The most prominent thinker is this subject matter, as far as I am concerned, would be Thomas…

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Added by Aidan Orsino on April 25, 2016 at 2:17am — No Comments

Idea: Humans Reproduce through Genetic and Non-Genetic Information

A word to the wise:  This is an incomplete set of ideas, and I welcome criticism and discussion.  After conversing with several individuals, I realized that my ideas were extremely similar to Memetics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme).  Instead of focusing on the Memes themselves, I would like to instead incorporate them in a discussion of the human behavior that lead me to independently believe in…

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Added by Brooke Kubby on April 22, 2016 at 11:44pm — 6 Comments

Are machines considered life?

When one imagines the species that is humanity’s closest ally they might think of man’s best friend, the dog, or his ever trusty steed, the horse. It is easy for humans to consider animals as friends; when we reach out to touch another mammal, everything about it, the warmth of the body, the sound of breathing, the reacting glance, exudes an unmistakable aura of life. It’s no surprise that the distinction between life and non-life carries a significant weight in the eyes of humans; after…

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Added by Charles Wen on April 15, 2016 at 11:58pm — 2 Comments

Life Exists !

Life exists.

This might seem like an obvious statement, but it is important when thinking about the nature of how things exist. Things exists as either a natural low energy state (what scientists refer to as the equilibrium state), or as ordered structures generated in response to the approach of low energy states. Essentially, an equilibrium state references the physical arrangement of the matter within a system after enough time has passed for all transformations to occur,…

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Added by Tucker Ely on April 15, 2016 at 1:42pm — 2 Comments

Why is Life so Complicated?

A friend recently mentioned that the most complex phenomena in all of the universe seem to occur roughly on the length scale of humans. What is meant by this is that we have equations governing the universe as a whole and equations governing interactions between subatomic particles, but much of what we see in everyday life can't be captured by a simple equation. The issue at hand is really what is…

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Added by Jake Hanson on April 10, 2016 at 7:24pm — 2 Comments

Challenges in observational science or why eating more cheese won't help you get a PhD

When we think about scientists, most times one of two images come to our minds: either a lonely (and most likely white-haired) man frantically writing equations on a paper, or someone on a lab coat mixing liquids in test tubes. These stereotypes basically correspond to two of the main types of scientists: theorists and experimentalists.

Broadly speaking theorists develop hypothesis that try to explain how the Universe works while experimentalists conduct controlled experiments…

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Added by Alicia Gonzalez on April 8, 2016 at 3:13pm — 2 Comments

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