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Fieldtrip 1, Day 2: Find a Location for Study

Yesterday's news -- How could you access news on Mars?

Jenn & Margarita snacking on bench in front of country storeVan pulling away from the Mineral LodgeThe next morning some rose to a hearty breakfast in the cafe and some day-old news. Others had a snack from the Country Store then off on the 25 mile trip back to look at two more site possibilities.

8.8 miles from Lodge to Park; 16.8 miles to site.

Van going through the Park gate

How would you make this trip on Mars?

Jenn, Bill & Margarita check the coordinates for site 2

Basin of site 2Based on the notes written by Brian from several weeks before, we climbed down into a basin to try to locate the spot he was describing.

It soon became apparent that a lot of thawing had been going on in this area. Some of the snowpacks were now dirt.

studying map
Team tries to find the exact point

They find the very spot Brian describes

The team found the very spot that Brian had written about and, though the snow was gone, the red algae remained.

Evidence of algae remains on the rocks
Chris looks at the algae under magnification

Jenn verifies the spot


Chris pulled out a magnifier and began to study the algae on the rock. While Jen and her assistant, Margarita determined the exact spot that was shown on Brian's maps.

What tools might you need to use to explore Mars?

Jenn & Margarita check out the terrain
Jenn studies algae under magnification

Jenn checks out the algae in a snowpack

Jen compares the algae on the rocks and in the snowpack and then jots down some notes on her findings.

Don't forget a way to record your findings on you trip to Mars!

Do you think you could dress like Jen while exploring on Mars?

Jenn records in small notebook

crags above the site

This site was beginning to look very good, because it was open but not traveled heavily by park visitors. A big question is where the instruments can be placed to be protected from the weather and from curious people and animals. Above this basin and across the road rose a craggy area that look ideal. Also, special care needs to be taken to not disturb the natural state of the park.

Some of the team climbed up to check it out while Chris "established a 2 meter mark" for them to use as reference.

Chris stretched out on a rock
Science team climbs a rocky hill to the final site

View of site 3 with snowpackWe had one more site to check out and climbed up a hill close to the base of Lassen Peak.

Chris shows us the easiest way to get back down the hill!

Chris sits down to slide down the hill
Jenn talking with Steve

The team standing around discussing pros and cons with Steve Decision time is here. Time to consult with Park Ranger Steve Zachary to verify that the details observed would be constant for placing the instruments. The consensus was that the second site was the best, and Margarita begins putting on more sunscreen to hike up Lassen Peak.

Steve & Jenn still discussing as Margarita puts on sunscreen
sign to help hikers to better climb Lassen Peak

real shot of team returning down side of Lassen Peak

So what do explorers do when they've finished their work? They do more exploring. In this beautiful setting, and at the encouragement of Steve Zachary, most of the team decided to climb Lassen Peak.

Our first returner was Bill who seemed grateful for the cold drink that had been waiting in the snow. The rest came down in good time.


Bill arrives first

Jenn & Chris arrive back from hike

Van leave - waving

Sign that reads Thank You for Visiting Lassen Volcnic National ParkAt this point, the science team waved good by to the education team and headed back to NASA Ames Research Center. The Ames Educational Technology Team remained behind to locate an ideal spot for viewing Lassen panoramically with the hopes of bringing you some extra chances to "be here."

Would you have the option to return home after two days of scouting for sites to study? How could you do some of that scouting before arriving at Mars?

photo of lassen peak reflected in reflection lake

There was still some daylight left so the eduation team went to Reflection Lake and took photos of Lassen Peak reflected in the lake. What a photogenic place this park is!

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NASA Official: Mark León
Last Updated: May 2005
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