With each new step in our planning process, everything gets a little more real. We've known for a while that we'd be leaving on October 21. We've been planning for it! But... we didn't have our plane tickets until yesterday. NOW, things are REAL! I leave in less than a week!
For those of you who didn't know, I have been down to Antarctica once before back in 2014. I can't believe that I am fortunate enough to get to go again. I am with a different team of scientists now, but the focus of both teams is the microbes that live in the ice-covered lakes of the Dry Valleys.
- We were at Lake Joyce - a smaller lake that has no permanent structures of any kind.
- It was much more isolated.
- Our focus was the microbes that live in mats on the lake floor, forming weird and wonderful structures as they grow and develop.
- Our research questions were tied to astrobiology: what can we learn about early life on earth from the mats? How might the mats be similar to what we might find in MartianPertaining to or like the planet Mars. fossils?
- We were there for 6 weeks, camping out.
- Still with the microbes, but this time, my team is more interested in the microbes that live in the water column (the layers of water between ice and lake bottom): how do they get nutrients, share materials and survive in such a harsh environment?
- We'll be at two different Dry Valley lakes - Lake Bonney and Lake Fryxell - both much larger than Lake Joyce.
- Our two lakes will have a couple modest buildings each but we will still camp out.
- We might actually have internet! However, our internet is not anything like your internet at home.
MICROBES: I'M COMING FOR YOU!!