Juan D. Rodriguez (AMASE 2009 team member): From August 1st to 24th 2009 AMASE (Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition) will be taking place in Svalbard (Norway, 76-81* N). This expedition involves different researchers from the Carnegie Institution of Washington, NASA/JPL, ESA, Cornell University, the Earth and Planetary Exploration Services (Norway), DLR (germany), the University of Valladolid (Spain) and the University of Leeds (UK).
Adrienne Kish: The sun was shining on the glaciers all day yesterday, giving us a chance to take some spectacular photos in between projects. It also resulted in an abundance of 'small' icebergs let loose into the water in the bay, so we were treated to a flotilla of blue ice moving slowly past the windows of the Marinlab facility while we worked. We were able to review cleaning protocols for instruments involved in analyses ranging from biology to organic chemistry.
Adrienne Kish: Today saw the transformation of bare labs and storage warehouses into fully equipped biology and biogeochemistry facilities and Mars rover assembly rooms. True to form in the adventure of space exploration, most teams had to deal with parts missing or malfunctioning resulting in some inspired McGyvor solutions. Alternatives were found, packages located, and sciences moved along.
Adrienne Kish: Ticket desk...security checkpoint...remove laptop, shoes, liquids...find gate...kill time until boarding call...board plane...try to sleep, watch bits of movies, eat...land...deplane... Ticket desk...security checkpoint...remove laptop, shoes, liquids...find gate...kill time until boarding call...board plane...try to sleep, watch bits of movies, eat...land...deplane...
This morning the sailboat Libra (www.sylibra.no) arrived with the two SAM boxes, as well as down jackets those without - perhaps the critical piece of gear needed for long 'sitting around sampling/taking data' times in the field. Libra is a truly beautiful ship - an approximately 18 meter steel hulled craft built with exquisite care and attention to detail by a German craftsman for his own use, just sailed up to Svalbard by her new owners - one of whom is Lance's Chief Officer, Eilif.
We are finished with the day's "rover operations". We got in three Sols' worth of operations, looked at many a rock and drove the rover a whiplash-inducing, NASCAR-ish 1.5 meters! (On second thought, canc that "NASCAR" comment, as there was no left turn involved) By the third Sol, the chaos and uncertainty was largely gone and we were pretty well oiled.