Project Description

The interdisciplinary WATSON project will integrate recent technological drilling advancement and instrumentation to enable spatially resolved in-situ detection and characterization of organics, microorganisms, and potential biosignatures in the subsurface ice record. In-situ characterization of subsurface ice will lead to a better understanding of life in ice and constrain our understanding of how it can survive and be preserved in icy regions of planetary bodies. The primary detection method is a deep-UV native fluorescence instrument, a repackaged version of the recent SHERLOC instrument selected for Mars. The proposed research will use the WATSON instrument to perform in-situ analysis of layered subsurface ice deposits in Greenland and a high elevation Rocky Mountain glacier. Fieldwork will include ice core collection, followed by geochemical and clean microbiological analysis on the cores to compare with data obtained from the in-situ deep-UV fluorescence instrument. 


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