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NASA AMASE 2008: Day 2: Alan's Entry

Status Report From: AMASE 2008
Posted: Monday, August 11, 2008

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August 5, 2008 / Written by: Alan

Despite the gnarly weather, the CheMin team headed up Sverefjell and successfully demonstrated CheMin in challenging field conditions. Within 30 minutes of arrival (including a leisurely lunch), we had CheMin running, identifying minerals, and finding a new one for the site.

We climbed up to the 'Ice Cave' locale on the NE ridge of Sverrefjellet, ascending from rock to snow and into falling snow fog. At the 'Ice Cave,' we set up CheMin, and it started immediately, run by wireless from a PC. Svein-Erik, normally a Ground Penetrating Radar expert (of the WISDOM team) today became a field geologist - he found a piece of the rare carbonate formation from the cave (poking out from the snow). We dried it to powder, and poured it into CheMin's cell. Within 20 seconds, we had the mineralogy: magnesite (which we knew was there), and dolomite (which was a new find!).

Our other goals, systematic sample collection and search for more carbonate deposits, remain frustrated. It's tough to collect rocks with 10 cm of snow on the ground, and even harder to find white carbonate deposits in a whiteout. Monday we'll try again; after all "Tomorrow is another day!" "Watch out where the huskies go, And don't you eat that yellow snow!" Frank Zappa, RIP

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