Welcome to the discussion thread for the story, Antarctica’s Pretty Pink Snow Is Brought to You By Algae and Penguin Poop. You can share your comments and thoughts about the story in the conversation below.
That is quite intriguing, and makes sense that all things need to live. I do not think that I will ever reach Antarctica, or the Moon. I have been to small islands that are only inhabited by birds and Marine animals, and boy those Omega 3’s sure are potent…Once you get past the smell , it’s quite fascinating to see these remote places just teeming with life.
This places just seem way to cold for my imagination. However, I do enjoy learning things about such a remote place, as data becomes available. What country or countries does Antarctica align with. Is she a territory? I do not know much about Her.
In 1970, I surveyed the Antarctic Peninsula for snow algae(C. nivalis and Scotialia brevestima) to follow the original work done during the Byrd Expeditions, as well as prior work by Whaling Captains who brought Algal smears home on the pages of Logbooks.
Dr. Emory Sutton at COAS Oregon State University, had brought C. nivalis into culture invitro from wild spores from the Oregon Cascades as part of his Doctoral Dissertation (Sutton, E. OSU, 1970).
Dr. H.C. Curl and I had proposed to NASA and NSF-OPP to both survey the Antarctic and setup life detection experiments for the Viking Mars Lander based on our experiments with the viability of C. nivalis spore exposed to interplanetary levels of Gama radiation, UltraViolet Radiation and Hard Vacuum.
The life detection experiments involved typical Light/Dark photosynthesis trials with C14O2as the tracer and indicator of photosynthesis. The nutrient solutions to induce blooming of C. nivalis were from Sutton’s prior work.
It was to be a 2 year project to survey the entire
Continent, using re-supply flights for travel for sampling from McMurdo in the second year.
The one unusual result was the finding of Springtail foraging on C. nivalis, with it in it’s gut, but it was from photomicrographs of field samples and as follows, we were unable to return to repeat that.
The light/dark experiments were successfully performed at Palmer Station in the field and were successful. Dr. Steven Shabica and Mr. William Stout were whiteness to the work as was Dr.’s Said al Said Texas A&M and Joel Hedgepeth of COAS OSU.
Preserved Field samples were successfully transported back to COAS OSU and preliminary results of the Surveys published (Curl and Becker, 1970, Antarctic Journal.) and forwarded to NASA for review.
Unfortunately, NSF-OPP was unable to support the logistics from McMurdo for Year 2 as we had proposed it in the successful proposal I had submitted and suggested we Re-do the Antarctic Peninsula in 1971 and we declined as we wanted to work in the Taylor Dry Valleys as a proxy for the Martian Surface with the same sampling of soils and culturing C. nivalis from them as we had with Cascade Volcano soils.
In 1972 I moved on to other projects in the Arctic. We were unaware that NASA had flown our experiment on the VIKING LANDERs until I visited NASA Langley in 1988 and saw the soil sampling apparatus on the leg of one of the reserve landers. We were told the results were
“Ambiguous” with traced of CO2 from the light experiment cell, but they had not buffered the nutrient solution and at 38% CO2 in the atmosphere and carbonates in the Martian substrate the low Ph would have released CO2.