22-EPN3-006: An Isotopic Inventory of Mars analogue environments
February 11, 2024

22-EPN3-006: An Isotopic Inventory of Mars analogue environments

Visit by Michael Macey and Daniel Loy (OU, UK) to TA1.5 Makgadikgadi Salt Pans (Botswana).
Dates of visit: 17-25 January 2024

An international team of scientists from The Open University (OU) and the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) conducted fieldwork across the Makgadikgadi Basin. The aim of the research conducted was to collect sediment cores and water samples to assess how viability of sulfur-cycling microbes varies across a gradient of salinities, desiccation, and UV-exposure, and how this might impact the formation of biosignatures. The timing of the trip allowed sampling across a spectrum of fluctuating environmental stressors in terms of the availability of water. During the trip, a total of 16 x 30 cm cores were collected for geochemical and microbiological characterisation. Furthermore, environmental variables were taken with pH, temperature, conductivity, redox potential, and UV monitored.  The trip was a success, with the collection of ideal samples to identify the relative abundance and diversity of sulfur cycling microbes across this analogue environment. 

Read the full scientific report with kind permission by Michael Macye and Daniel Loy.