Dec 1 2011: Astrobiology of Lakes

Dr. Darlene Lim
NASA Ames Research Center

Analog field science and exploration research can approximate the
Earth’s past as well as humanity’s future in space. Such is the case
with the research of the Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP). The
PLRP, a multi-disciplinary, science and exploration endeavor, focuses
on understanding the morphogenesis of modern microbialites in Pavilion
Lake, British Columbia, Canada. Over the years, the PLRP has employed a
suite of lab and field based methods to accomplish its scientific and
exploration goals. The field research demands the seamless integration
of science and exploration field activities in an underwater
environment inherently hostile to humans. The physical, mental and
operational rigors associated with PLRP field science and exploration
activities are comparable to extra-vehicular activities (EVA) where
scientific exploration is a key driver. These working constraints are
not simulated, but real and inextricable from the PLRP’s activities.
The PLRPs analog science activities provide a real science setting in
which to inform the development of scientific and mission operation
architectures, train astronauts as field scientists, test technology,
evaluate technical requirements to meet scientific needs, and design
science backroom team protocols.

Darlene will present a synopsis of the PLRP science and exploration
activities with a focus on this past year’s field season at Kelly Lake,
BC, Canada.

Follow Iplex