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Getting ready for new MASE sampling trips!

May 19 2016

Examining salt formations at Boulby Mine.

High-salt concentrations at Boulby Mine.

Detail of a sulphide spring in Sippenauer Moor.

Astrobiologists seek to investigate the limits of life on Earth and the possibility of life beyond Earth, to prepare for the eventual human exploration and settlement of space. To better understand the habitability potential of  extraterrestrial environments for microbial colonization, the MASE team will focus on hardware testing directly at the field sites which are the Mars-analogue environments located at Sippenauer Moor in Germany and Boulby Mine in the UK in July 2016.

The Sippenauer Moor region harbours many sulphide-containing springs that emanate from the subsurface. The low organic content, low temperatures, anoxia and sulfur compounds of these springs provide an excellent analogue site to study organisms that could hypothetically exist or had existed under similar conditions in Mars.

Boulby is a 1.1 km deep mine with high-salt concentrations situated in the UK that hosts the Boulby International Subsurface Astrobiology Laboratory (BISAL). This facility provides a unique opportunity to investigate life that naturally grows under anaerobic and high-salt concentrations, both characteristics relevant to Mars environmental conditions.

More details coming soon!




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