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Sensor Web in Antarctica: Developing an Intelligent, Autonomous Platform for Locating Biological Flourishes in Cryogenic EnvironmentsThe most rigorous tests of the ability to detect extant life will occur where biotic activity is limited by severe environmental conditions. Cryogenic environments are among the most severe-the energy and nutrients needed for biological activity are in short supply while the climate itself is actively destructive to biological mechanisms. In such settings biological activity is often limited to brief flourishes, occurring only when and where conditions are at their most favorable. The closer that typical regional conditions approach conditions that are actively hostile , the more widely distributed biological blooms will be in both time and space. On a spatial dimension of a few meters or a time dimension of a few days, biological activity becomes much more difficult to detect. One way to overcome this difficulty is to establish a Sensor Web that can monitor microclimates over appropriate scales of time and distance, allowing a continuous virtual presence for instant recognition of favorable conditions. A more sophisticated Sensor Web, incorporating metabolic sensors, can effectively meet the challenge to be in "the right place in the right time". This is particularly of value in planetary surface missions, where limited mobility and mission timelines require extremely efficient sample and data acquisition. Sensor Webs can be an effective way to fill the gap between broad scale orbital data collection and fine-scale surface lander science. We are in the process of developing an intelligent, distributed and autonomous Sensor Web that will allow us to monitor microclimate under severe cryogenic conditions, approaching those extant on the surface of Mars. Ultimately this Sensor Web will include the ability to detect and/or establish limits on extant microbiological activity through incorporation of novel metabolic gas sensors. Here we report the results of our first deployment of a Sensor Web prototype in a previously unexplored high altitude East Antarctic Plateau "micro-oasis" at the MacAlpine Hills, Law Glacier, Antarctica.
Document ID
20030111195
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Delin, K. A. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Harvey, R. P. (Case Western Reserve Univ. Cleveland, OH, United States)
Chabot, N. A. (Case Western Reserve Univ. Cleveland, OH, United States)
Jackson, S. P. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Adams, Mike (Case Western Reserve Univ. Cleveland, OH, United States)
Johnson, D. W. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Britton, J. T. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, 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
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NAG5-11122
CONTRACT_GRANT: NSF OPP-99-80452
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20030110578Analytic PrimaryLunar and Planetary Science XXXIV
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