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First Results of the Expedition to the Highest Lake on Earth: Studying a Martian Paleolake in Bolivia and the Survival Strategies Developed by Living OrganismsBetween October 16th and November 9th 2002, the first NASA Ames DDF Licancabur multidisciplinary expedition initiated the investigation of the biology and environment for life in the highest lake on Earth located at the summit of the Licancabur volcano (6017 m/20,056 ft) at the boundary of Chile and Bolivia. The low oxygen, low atmospheric pressure, high-UV radiation, average temperature, volcano-tectonic and hydrothermal environment make the site a close analog to Martian paleolakes 3.5 billion years ago. The overall goal of the project is to understand through a series of high altitude scientific expeditions what strategies life is using to defend itself against killer-level UV radiation and environmental extreme conditions at this altitude. Several other lakes are located at 4300 m at the foot of the Licancabur volcano (hereafter named laguna Blanca and Laguna Verde). They were also investigated using identical experiments and methods as for the summit lake in order to compare the results and better understand the evolution of survival strategies at transitioning elevations. The lagunas are geothermally heated and many springs provide water at various temperatures. Sources of heat are also suspected for the summit lake as its surface water temperature was measured during the successful ascent at +6 C in a -9 C ambient crater environment (with a wind chill factor of -25 C with a wind blowing almost constantly). Results of this project are expected to provide critical keys to help searching and identifying potential sites for life (extant/extinct) on Mars and developing instruments, experiments and technologies for future missions.
Document ID
20030111008
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Cabrol, N. A. (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Inst. Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Grin, E. A. (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Inst. Moffett Field, CA, United States)
McKay, C. P. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Friedmann, I. (National Academy of Sciences - National Research Council Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Diaz, D. Chong (Universidad Catolica del Norte Antofagasta, Chile)
Demergasso, C. (Universidad Catolica del Norte Antofagasta, Chile)
Kisse, K. (Hungarian Academy of Sciences Hungary)
Grigorszky, I. (Kossuth Univ. Hungary)
Friedmann, R. Ocampo (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Inst. Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Murbach, M. S. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXIV
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20030110578Analytic PrimaryLunar and Planetary Science XXXIV
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