Frozen dirt diaries
Permafrost, Geomorphology, Science, Planets et al.
Frozen dirt diaries
CanMars 2016 — this is gonna roll Monday Morning

For #CANMARS 2016, we are a team where each member has a role. Also, things are moving very fast, and a few last-minute adjustments were required just before the start.

This is gonna be awesome. We have been preparing for this event for the last few months. Several participants are veterans of the 2015 mission, leads were there during the first few years of the project. In addition to a handful of new participants such as myself.

My role.

In fact, there were a few last-minute adjustments in the hierarchical structure of the mission staff at Mission Control. Initially, I was going to be a member of:

  1. the GIS group (Geographical Information System), those responsible for organizing maps and geolocalisation features for the rest of the teams, with @Zach4TheFuture (Zach Morse, Western, Ph.D. student in Earth Sciences) and @Elusium (Elise Harrington, Western, M. Sc. student in Earth Sciences);
  2. the MastCAM group (camera mounted on a mast, with a ZOOM and PANORAMA mode);
  3. the TEMMI group (the Three-Dimensional Exploration Multispectral Microscope Imager) with a colleague.

A big load as they say. I have been reading for the last weeks almost everything that was written on those sensors so I have a good grasp on capabilities and limitations, in addition to reports and papers that were prepared for conferences and such.

Good for me! Next thing I know, as the team was taking form and specific schedules and limitations of availability were arriving on the Science Lead desk, a few adjustments were required:

  1. I was removed from the GIS team;
  2. I became the lead for the MastCAM group;
  3. the lead of TEMMI;
  4. the lead of RMI (the Remote Micro Imager);
  5. the lead of WATSON (a special camera acting as a microscope).

It was not sure yet who would be composing my group but I had a few remote collaborators online who would help me run this fine suite of instruments.

I still have the weekend to somewhat catch on with my latest assignment(s).

MESR, the Mars Exploration Science Rover

Source: ASC_CSA. This is MESR being tested in a simulated arid environment.

Mountain tops, plateaus and subglacial channels

Exploration mode = ON! A team of 4 leaves to survey Allen Bay Formation mountain tops for patterned ground, felsenmmers and subglacial channels.

With @drcrater, @agraugal and Dr. Jellinek, we started the day on ATV's toward the south-east, relative to base camp location, for a long day exploring the intrinsic of subglacial channels, the main research focus of Ph. D. student A. Grau. Ancient subglacial channels are the relict of a time when glaciers or an ice cap was covering the area before the ice retreated on central Devon Island, 8800 to...

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In the air - late arrival is still an arrival

We departed late - and the sun was at the rendez-vous, in addition to an almost fully operational camp already.

The last group (@Elusieum, @planet_neish, @meteorJen and I) went in the Twin Otter around 22:30, after refueling from their first run and after loading it. The aircrafts were back from their first run to drop team one and two and their gear on the site. Overall, it took approximately 40 to 45 minute to fly near our camp site, about 20 minute to empty, and another...

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The best taxi on this planet

A rainy evening. Everyone eager to get at destination.

Everyone is near the tarmac, in full expedition gear, ready to leave to Devon. Light rain, sky is gray, it is frisky as usual. We just got a GO from the PCSP control. We spent the last two days making and weighing boxes, as everything getting in the taxi need to be known up to the nearest 10 kg by the pilot - when we were allowed a bit less than 1.5 tons, passengers included. So...

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Arrival at Resolute, NU

Resolute Bay - my first time ever on Cornwallis Island; and I will finally meet the PCSP staff in person, after all these years over the long-wave radio and Iridium!

Just arrived at Resolute Bay, Nunavut, yesterday. This is presently my first time on Cornwallis Island and also the most northern location I ever went. Polar Continental Shelf Program Resolute facility is an invaluable resource for researchers working in the High Arctic (15 July 2016). In fact this place is amazing, seriously, in regard with the logistics provided and their support for our research. Staff from PSCP (Salut Yvon!)...

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Wilderness and Remote First Aid Training

This training is critical and a prerequisite to travel to places such as Devon Island, where medical intervention, if required, is likely to be extremely limited.

Previous to travelling to the High Arctic, it is usual to be trained in CPR or First Aid of some sort. Nevertheless, our research group required everyone travelling to Devon Island this year to have a valid Wilderness and Remote First Aid Certification. Three of us went to LMac Community CPR. The main difference with the Wilderness and Remote course, compared to other more classical courses, is that we have a very...

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Objective : Devon Island

This is it. Devon Island it will be! This will be quite something - as I never had the chance to visit a polar desert before. Most places I went to were quite green and wet (wetlands). Also every place I visited up to now is located south of Devon Island too.

Here is a map of the location of our projected fieldwork: Devon Island is located 74 degrees North. There is an ice cap on the eastern side of the Island, and the impact structure where we will stay is on the western side of the Island. We will be about 13 at most in the camp, and a small switch of personal midcourse. We will arrive at Resolute Bay facilities (PCSP)...

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Arrival at London

I just arrived in London, ON, after leaving early from Montreal using VIARail Train. Actually I could use to fly with WestJet to London, but flying from Montreal is not always convenient, and when given the choice, I either use ground transport, or plainly another airport (Hello YOW and BTV!).

This is a view of the Middlesex College on the UWO Campus, just next my office So here I am in London. It is my second time here, the first time being when I went to meet Dr. Osinski (CPSX @ Western) for an hour last Fall, (back and through from Montreal). Now I am to work with him for the next two years due to my project being funded...

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A new project

So I just got a great research scholarship.

This is among the greatest day of my life today: I got a post-doctoral research scholarship from FQRNT! They accepted my project to study permafrost features, dynamics and gullies at the Haughton Impact Structure (or crater). The study site is located in the western part of Devon Island, Nunavut, Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The approach consists in studying Earth cold and arid geomorphology in polar regions and use this to enhance our understanding of similar processes...

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