All Blog Posts (96)

The Universe Computes Life

When I say “the universe”, what do you immediately think of?

Me, I think of an old documentary with dark pictures and lots of equations. Maybe Morgan Freeman is narrating. Maybe someone with a British accent is narrating. In my imagination, I’m flying through a supernova, galaxies, and a…

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Added by Alyssa Adams on February 27, 2016 at 12:30am — 6 Comments

People drink in Antarctica (oh, and everywhere else)

I was sent two versions of this article today that claims, in a dramatic way, that scientists are drinking way too much in Antarctica. The Wired link is below and the other one which was sent to me was on the popular "I f****** love science" Facebook page.

http://www.wired.com/2015/10/scientists-antarctica-drink-lot-maybe-much/

I have spent 3 field seasons at the smallest American…

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Added by Mrinalini Nikrad on October 12, 2015 at 5:30pm — No Comments

HI-SEAS - What would you do before leaving Earth for a year?

I was asked many times how I felt about being isolated for a year. I wish I had a deep and subtle answer to that but, to be honest, I didn’t have time to think about it.

The last two weeks were a succession of two kinds of moments. First, preparation work. Between finishing research projects, leaving my flat in Rome and driving to Paris, writing project proposals, getting a year’s worth of lab supplies in the dome, managing partnerships, answering media, having kilograms of paper…

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Added by Cyprien Verseux on August 24, 2015 at 11:41pm — No Comments

HI-SEAS - Ten days left

In ten days, the doors will close.

From then on, and for a whole year, I will never feel the wind in my hair or the sun on my skin. I will live in an isolated, 36-feet-in-diameter dome, together with 5 other people. These will be the only people I will see. The only people I will talk to, too: I will have no direct communication with anyone else. Showering will be a luxury, limited to a few minutes a week. My internet access will be…

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Added by Cyprien Verseux on August 19, 2015 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Astrobiology: Like Wearing Academic Beer Goggles

By Mrinalini Nikrad, PhD.

 

“I am interested in Astrobiology”. When they hear that phrase, some people look amused, like I was trying to be funny. Others look at me like I’m crazy, a poor misled scientist, interested in a non-existent field and a disturbed mind (soon to use tax dollars for alien research). Sure, astrobiology sounds as far out as E.T., more like…

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Added by Mrinalini Nikrad on July 3, 2015 at 1:00pm — No Comments

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

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