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Links to broadcast quality audio files and transcripts, Dr. Carol Stoker, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. interviewed about the Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE) which is to take place near the Rio Tinto (Tinto River) in Spain. This interview was recorded 3-25-03.

Question 5. What equipment will the team be using during the MARTE experiment?

The audio recording is 2:37 minutes.

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Full Transcript (below)

5. What equipment will the team be using during the MARTE experiment? (2:37 minutes)

Dr. Carol Stoker: "This experiment is really focused on accessing a subsurface ecosystem. So, what we’ll really be using is drills. Our experiment will be primarily to ah.. use it . . . in the initial phases we will being a commercial drilling system to go down a few hundred feet, and to characterize what the type of rocks are as you go under the ground and what, how the water chemistry changes as you go underground. We know that there is a pretty-near-surface ground water system because we see manifestations of that ground water system at the surface. So, for example, we see little artesian springs. In fact, the river, the Rio Tinto, is being sourced from artesian springs. There are also places where previous mining activities – because this area is an old mine site – there are areas where previous mining activities have excavated craters, and those craters are filled with ground water. So, we know that there is a fairly-near-surface ground water system, and that this ground water system is carrying this – or is very acidic. And we will be drilling into it, and collecting samples and analyzing those samples for their bacterial content. So, it’s really about identifying what the subsurface biology is at this site. So, that, the initial phases will be doing that with commercial drills. In the later phase of the experiment, we will be using a drilling package that’s designed for a Mars mission, and be trying to duplicate many of the aspects of what we will do in the initial phases with a commercial drill and with a scientific crew at the field site. We will be trying to automate those processes, and do a simulation of a Mars drilling mission to look for life and with a suite of instrumentation that will all be automated instrumentation, and data sets that will be then sent back to a science team that’s located in a different location who will be simulating a science team on Earth. So, they, the idea is to use the initial phases of this investigation to guide the development of a Mars mission to drill into the subsurface of Mars to search for life."

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