Coping with Contamination

Henry Bortman, Carol Stoker, Astrobiology Magazine

This magazine article features an interview with Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE) scientist Carol Stoker. In this third session of the four-part series, Stoker describes how the MARTE team avoids contaminating their drill-core samples. Her team is drilling into the pyrite subsurface of Spain's Rio Tinto in search for microbes existing in an iron-sulfur-based energy system, similar to that of Mars. She describes the technical challenges to be faced in the waterless environment of other-world drilling. The resource includes images from the Mars rover project, links to related web sites, and an MP3 Audio Machine text-to-speech option.

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Subject: Biology:Ecology:Metabolism, Biology:Astrobiology, Microbiology, Geoscience:Hydrology
Resource Type: Scientific Resources:Overview/Reference Work
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16), Graduate/Professional, College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12)
Extreme Environments: Acidic, Extremely Cold
Theme: Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:Water, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Hydrology/HydrogeologyKeywords: Sterile drilling, contamination tracers