Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition

David Bish
David Bish

David Blake and Tori Hoehler, of ARC’s Exobiology Branch, are participating in the Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) 2006 using it as a Mars test-bed for CheMin (A Miniaturized Simultaneous X-ray Diffraction/X-ray Fluorescence Instrument) which will fly on MSL 2009, along with a suite of other instruments. Blake and Hoehler are operating CheMin (for which Blake is the MSL Instrument PI) in the physically-demanding and geologically-diverse Mars Analog field setting of Svalbard, Norwegian Arctic along with CheMin Co-I’s Allan Treiman and David Bish, for a 10-day field deployment in four geologically distinct settings. Analyzed samples include a variety of mineralogies with high relevance to Mars exploration, including olivine-rich rocks, sulfate and carbonate evaporites, hematite, and various aqueous weathering products of mafic and ultramafic primary minerals. Several of these samples were obtained directly by a “Cliff-Bot” that was deployed in Svalbard by a JPL rover team. This activity demonstating CheMin’s capability to provide real time, definitive, in-situ mineralogy via X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction analysis. AMASE is led by Hans Amundsen (Expedition Leader, University of Oslo, Physics of Geological Processes group) and Andrew Steele (Science Lead, Carnegie Institute of Washington), and is supported by a grant from NASA’s ASTEP program (A. Steele, PI)

The picture above shows David Bish (a CheMin Co-I) conducting the first fully quantitative, start-to-finish XRD mineralogical analysis in the field. The gun to the left of Dr. Bish is to deal with Polar bears, which are a problem up there in the Norwegian Arctic. No kidding, see below…

 

Polar Bear
Polar Bear