Spaceward Bound: Mojave Expedition - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Spaceward Bound: Mojave Expedition. 2nd Online Training Session February 13, 2007. Welcome !!!. Science Themes. Desert soil: Soil microbiology, soil oxidants, and soil formation. Geology: Volcanoes, rocks, Amboy crater, Cima lava flows and geology.

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Spaceward Bound:Mojave Expedition

2nd Online Training Session

February 13, 2007

Welcome !!!

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Science Themes

  • Desert soil: Soil microbiology, soil oxidants, and soil formation.

  • Geology: Volcanoes, rocks, Amboy crater, Cima lava flows and geology.

  • Photosynthesis: desert hypolithic algae, cyanobacterial soil crusts, and stromatolites.

  • Caves and lava tubes, paleolakes, and remote sensing

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  • Introduction (Liza)

  • Science (Chris, Jim, Henry)

    • Photosynthesis (Theme 3)

      • Hypolithic algae under stones

      • Photosynthetic layers in Badwater salt mat

      • Stromatolites of the Crystal Springs Formation

    • Soil microbiology (Theme 1)

      • Transect: dry to wet

      • Soil microbiology studies

      • Modeling of soil physics and water state to correlate with microbiology

      • Soil organic analysis

  • Wrap up and Homework !!!

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On the phone

  • Dr. James Nienow

    • Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA


  • Dr. Henry Sun

    • Desert Research Institute, Las Vegas, NV


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Spaceward Bound MojaveScience Themes

  • Photosynthesis- hypolithic cyanobacteria- salt mats- stromatolites

  • Soil Microbiology- microbial number- life/dead ratios- soil organics & oxidants

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  • Photosynthesis is the ultimate base for virtually all ecosystems

  • Life on the surface is Mars = Is there photosynthesis on the surface of Mars

  • We are studying photosynthesis in dry and cold environments (Mars-like)

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What is a hypolith?

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Colonized Stones in the Atacama Desert

Warren-Rhodes et al. Micro. Ecol. 2005

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Microbial mat from Badwater salt flats in Death Valley

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Wierzchos etal 2006.

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Stromatolites from the Crystal Springs carbonate formation from the Mojave Desert. Evidence of photosynthesis over a billion years ago.

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Soil Microbiology

  • Microbial number and diversity variations from dry to wet- culture methods- non culture methods

  • Live/dead ratios and turnover rates

  • Presence of organic material in soils

  • Presence of oxidants in soils

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Hyperarid, < 1 mm/yr

5 mm/yr

25 mm/yr

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Mars-like soils in the Atacama Desert; compare Mojave

  • Organics drop to low levels in the arid core.

  • Oxidized organics increase in relative concentration

  • Places with no culturable microorganisms

  • Places with no recoverable DNA

  • Abiotic consumption of organic material

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Mars-like soils?

Viking 2 lander:

water frost on Mars

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The Viking Biology Experiments

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Upcoming Events

  • Training

    • 2 more

      • Wed., Mar. 7, noon PST

        • Two of the science themes

        • More logistics and Q & A

      • Wed., Mar. 21, noon PDT

        • Final preparations

    • Goal

      • By the end of the training broadcasts you each will be able to decide whether you want to focuson only one or sample them all

    • Homework !!!

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  • On Spaceward Bound Resources page under Interesting Readings:

    • “Desert Landforms and Surface Processes in the Mojave National Preserve and Vicinity”

    • “The camels of the prokaryotic world”

    • “Levels of Bacterial Community diversity in Four Arid Soils Compared by Cultivation and 16S rRNA Gene Cloning”

    • On the web:


        • Click on Research on the bottom of the page

      • (USGS)

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Homework p.2

Write a letter to your teacher leader

  • Tell him/her about your class and your school

    • Include the good things and the bad things

    • Go deeper than just “I teach 6th grade science.”

  • Tell him/her:

    • What you are looking forward to during the expedition

    • What’s you’re worried/unsure about

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Spaceward Bound:Mojave Expedition

2nd Online Training Session

February 13, 2007

Thanks for joining us

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