Oxidation Processes and the Preservation of Organic Biosignatures in a Permafrost Dominated Environment – A Martian Analogue in the Canadian Arctic

Regions: Sahtu Settlement Area

Tags: physical sciences, geology, permafrost, Mars

Principal Investigator: Osinski, Gordon (3)
Licence Number: 14414
Organization: University of Western Ontario
Licenced Year(s): 2008
Issued: Aug 20, 2008
Project Team: Melissa Battler (Geology PhD student, University of Western Ontario), Darlene Lim (Limnologist, NASA Ames Research Center), Greg Slater (Geologist, McMaster University), Alfonso Davila (Geochemist, NASA Ames Research Center), Alberto Fairén (Geochemist, NASA Ames Research Center), Fred Michel (Geologist, Carleton University)

Objective(s): The objective of this research is to examine the ôGolden Depositö rock formation similar to that recently discovered on Mars.

Project Description: This license has been issued for the scientific research application # 878.

The objective of this research is to examine the “Golden Deposit” rock formation similar to that recently discovered on Mars. The NASA rover, called “Opportunity,” discovered sulfur-bearing minerals on Mars, suggesting past water, and maybe life. This research will help researchers understand how these water systems would have behaved, or if they could have preserved fossil evidence of life. This research will ultimately allow a better understanding of Mars, and will hopefully provide insight to where, in the future, researchers look on Mars for past evidence of life.

The research will consist of a series of samples being taken in the Gold Deposit area. Rock and mineral samples will be collected by hand, using standard geological equipment such as hammers and shovels. Water and sediment samples will be collected by hand, using bottles and push-cores. Geological samples (rocks, minerals, sediment) will be less than 50 kg, while water samples will be less than 20 kg.

This research will be published in scientific journals and presented at conferences. Copies of these papers will be distributed to interested northern communities and research organizations. In addition, results will be communicated to schools and community groups in Norman Wells, Tulita, and other northern communities, through presentations, either via local visits, or via the internet using facilities available at the University of Western Ontario.
The fieldwork will be conducted from September 11 to September 16, 2008 at The Golden Deposit, located 54 km northeast of Tulita. The basecamp will be located in Norman Wells.