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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 3. What is the significance of the deep, red color of the Rio Tinto river in Spain?

The audio recording is 1:43 minutes.

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Full Transcript (below)

3. What is the significance of the deep, red color of the Rio Tinto river in Spain? (1:43 minutes)

Dr. Carol Stoker: "The significance of the color of the river is that the river is carrying a huge burden of dissolved metals in particular iron – also things like copper, gold, arsenic. There’s a huge range of dissolved metals in the river water. It’s really the dissolved iron that’s causing the red color. The reason it’s significant is that the process by which the river is carrying this huge amount of dissolved metals is because the river is – has a very low pH, that is the acidity of the river. So, the river is a very acid – ah, high acid composition, and the acidity is being produced by a microbial ecosystem that essentially is metabolizing these iron sulfide minerals – or sulfides in particular, and excreting sulfuric acid as a byproduct. So, the expedition is really about exploring this extremophile biosphere. That is – ah, the organisms are acidophiles, or acid-loving organisms. And these organisms are of interest from the point of view of Mars exploration because we believe that there is a – that the surface ecosystem is essentially repeated underground, or it extends underground, and that there might be similar environments to this on Mars where there would be life on Mars, but under the surface."

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