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Bound Expedition: Pavilion Lake 2008
PLRP DEEPWORKER DEPLOYMENT 2008 – SCIENCE PLAN
PROJECT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The deployment of DeepWorker submersibles into Pavilion Lake, Canada (50°51'57"N, 121°44'20"W), presents a unique opportunity to advance the long-term objective of human exploration of the Moon and Mars. By combining rigorous scientific research on life in extreme environments with high fidelity training in an underwater, remote field setting, this will serve to inform the knowledge base, tools and techniques of future human missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
DEEPWORKER SCIENCE PLANS:
Justification for use of DeepWorkers to meet PLRP science goals:
PLRP Science Objectives:
The PLRP is a NASA-UBC led multi-disciplinary initiative (see http://supercritical.civil.ubc.ca/~pavilion/ for more information). Project members have been conducting science and exploration activities in the Pavilion Lake region since 2004. The overarching goal of this research is to develop an understanding of the mechanisms of formation of the unique microbialites in the lake and the potential for associated biosignatures. This understanding will contribute to astrobiology research by providing the basis for interpretation of similar organo-sedimentary structures either on early earth (e.g. stromatolites) or potentially on other planets. The following is a list of the on-going PLRP science objectives:
DeepWorker deployment in Pavilion Lake will directly support PLRP Science Objectives 2 and 3.DeepWorker 2008 Science Plans:
Contribution to Microbialite Mapping - Science Objective 3
To address our mapping goals, we will carry out the following science plan during the 10-day excursion to Pavilion Lake from June 23-July4, 2008:
1. Contour Mapping:
To understand the spatial coverage and variability of microbialites in Pavilion Lake, DeepWorker transects at set contour depths will be carried out. Still and digital photographic data, and GPS data will be compiled. Transect coverage will be by 10m intervals (i.e. 5 m, 15 m, etc… Note: these are nominal depths – actual operating depths are to be determined based on SONAR data), and grouped as follows for the purposes of designating teams to each task:
Figure 1. Pavilion Lake with contours at 5, 10, 15, 25, 35, 45, and 55 m.
2. Basin Mapping:
3. ‘Bioherm’ Mapping:
4. Groundwater Inputs:
5. Photography of any visible salinity and thermal boundaries
6. Mapping of rock debris flows throughout lake
7. Vertical transects along identified regions of interest:
Contribution to Microbial Influences on Carbonate Formation – Science Objective 2
Distinguishing between mechanisms (abiotic versus biotic) of microbialite formation is crucial to the interpretation of biosignatures that may be preserved in similar structures on the early earth or other planets such as Mars.
Results of natural abundance isotope analysis (13C, 14C) of currently accessible (< 35 m deep) microbialites indicate the potential for input of carbon from regional groundwater to Pavilion Lake dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) as well as to the microbialites themselves. The results obtained for the single, small deepwater sample obtained (> 35 m) indicates that the proportion of old carbon is greater for this sample. This suggests variability in the carbon inputs to the deep portions of the lake or differences in the time of microbialite formation within the lake.
DeepWorkers will enable:
1. Direct sampling of deep microbialites (40 + m), which will allow for the:
2. The photo and video documentation, and mapping of sites of interest for future detailed sampling. Data gathered about microbialite morphology variability and distribution will be most useful to the science community if it can be clearly linked with internal morphology, and local and lake-wide geochemistry.
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