. 24/7 Space News .
Deep-sea exploration breakthrough to guide future space exploration missions
by Staff Writers
Tempe AZ (SPX) Mar 31, 2021

stock image only

Scientists from Arizona State University, who are a part of the Systematic Underwater Biogeochemical Science and Exploration Analog (SUBSEA) program, have pioneered a new approach to the scientific process of geochemical exploration for our Earth and beyond.

Everett Shock of ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration and former ASU postdoctoral scholar Vincent Milesi worked with teams onboard the Ocean Exploration Trust's (OET) Exploration Vessel Nautilus to use deep-sea exploration on Earth as an analog for hydrothermal systems on other ocean worlds.

In so doing, they designed and tested a new concept of operations that could help change the paradigm of planetary exploration. Their new approach is detailed in a recent article published in the journal Planetary and Space Science.

Current scientific field exploration often involves a multiyear experimental cycle, starting with data and sample collection followed by analyses and modeling that then leads to findings that influence the design of subsequent experimental efforts.

But the ASU researchers exploring deep sea hydrothermal vents as part of the SUBSEA project moved their modeling to the beginning of this process, significantly speeding up their ability to interpret the data from months to a couple of hours.

The novelty of their approach is to use programming languages to automate the multiple runs and data processing of geochemical calculations in order to analyze a large range of possible reaction conditions that generate vent fluids before and during their deep-sea investigations.

"The strength of this approach is that it makes it possible to be surprised when the predictions of the model are confirmed or disproved during exploration" said Milesi, lead author. "On cruise missions, on-board ship analyses can now be interpreted with the modeling as the expedition proceeds, rather than having to wait months for the analytical results to come back from the lab and then start the modeling effort."

The team tested their new procedure during the exploration of the "Sea Cliff" hydrothermal vent field on the Gorda Ridge in the northeast Pacific Ocean. They began by conducting a series of reaction-path calculations before the expedition to predict the diversity of possible fluid chemical compositions and energy available for microorganisms at the vent site.

Then, during the expedition, ship-based chemical analyses of collected vent samples were sent to a shore-based team of geochemical modelers, who compared the measured and forward-modeled data to determine the reaction conditions at the origin of the vent fluids at depth.

These comparisons then informed, in real time, the design of the dive and sampling plans during the expedition, as well as providing a guide for future expeditions. Rapid hypothesis testing also freed up time for further exploration resulting in the discovery of a nearby hydrothermal vent field named Apollo by the SUBSEA group in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing by astronauts.

"Geochemical modeling used to be what you did once you had all your data, but no more," said Shock, study co-author.

And this new approach to the scientific process is particularly important to the field of astrobiology. In the search for life on other planets, scientists are looking to gain an understanding of what kind of water-rock interactions occur on icy moons (like Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons) and whether they support microbial life. To answer that question, scientists have to optimize their exploration and sampling strategy to learn the most about the habitability of these extreme environments.

"It would be unfortunate to realize years after a mission was complete that a sample collected just a few meters farther away or with a slightly higher temperature would have had much more to tell than the fluid that was sampled," Milesi said. "Our new process of analysis as the expedition proceeds is particularly critical for space exploration, where costs are high and time is of the essence."

Deep-sea research as analog for deep space
Ocean and space research have a lot in common. In both fields, robotic explorers are sent to work where humans cannot easily go, with input from groups of people both relatively nearby and much farther afield. Combining the two worlds allows the SUBSEA team, led by Darlene Lim of NASA's Ames Research Center, in California's Silicon Valley, to help prepare for new types of space exploration missions by practicing now under realistic conditions on Earth.

The SUBSEA team has been conducting scientific investigations to help NASA better understand the potential that other ocean worlds could have to support life, while also studying the oceanographic exploration process as a way to understand how to conduct remote science missions and to streamline future exploration.

The team was able to leverage ship-to-shore telepresence technologies developed over the past decade by OET and augmented by NASA technologies for this expedition to expand the size of the science team to a multidisciplinary team of researchers on shore. The work conducted by the SUBSEA team has direct implications for near-term human exploration destinations like the moon and Mars.

SUBSEA is funded by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Additional co-authors and contributors of this study include Tucker Ely of ASU, Megan Lubetkin of the Ocean Exploration Trust, Sean Sylva, Julie Huber, Amy Smith, Christopher German of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Shannon Kobs Nawotniak of Idaho State University, Zara Mirmalek of Harvard and the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, and Darlene Lim of NASA Ames Research Center.

Related Links
School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Russian Progress MS-14 spacecraft sets new flight duration record
Moscow (Sputnik) Mar 29, 2021
The Russian Progress MS-14 resupply spacecraft that is currently at the International Space Station (ISS) has set a new flight duration record, according to Sputnik calculations. At 01:45 GMT on Sunday, Progress MS-14 broke the record set by Russian Progress M-17 cargo spacecraft that was in orbit for 337 days in 1993-1994. Progress MS-14 was launched on April 25, 2020 and is currently docked to the Russian Zvezda module at the ISS. It is expected to undock from the ISS on April 27, thus it ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Deep-sea exploration breakthrough to guide future space exploration missions

Virgin Galactic and Land Rover announce global partnership extension as new spaceship is revealed

Russian Progress MS-14 spacecraft sets new flight duration record

NASA Engineers Analyze Navigation Needs of Artemis Moon Missions

SpaceX introduces final members of all-civilian Inspiration4 crew

SpaceX Starship rocket explodes again after test flight

SpaceX Starship test flight fails

SpaceX aims to nail landing of Starship on fourth attempt

Researchers discover new type of ancient crater lake on Mars

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover takes selfie with Mont Mercou

Wright brothers' wing fragment to take flight again on Mars

NASA Ingenuity Mars Helicopter prepares for first flight

China advances space cooperation in 2020: blue book

China selects astronauts for space station program

China tests high-thrust rocket engine for upcoming space station missions

China has over 300 satellites in orbit

BlackSky's newest satellite delivers first insights within 24 hours

Nine global space startups to join Australia's first space dedicated incubator program

New study finds satellites contribute significant light pollution to night skies

OneWeb welcomes TrustComm as a DoD Distribution Partner

A new technique to synthesize superconducting materials

Hitachi buys US software firm GlobalLogic for $9.6 bn

NASA tests mixed reality for mission operations for exploration

Tires turned into graphene that makes stronger concrete

How asteroid dust helped us prove life's raw ingredients can evolve in outer space

Photosynthesis could be as old as life itself

Pandora Mission Would Expand NASA's Capabilities in Probing Alien Worlds

ASU scientists determine origin of strange interstellar object

SwRI scientists discover a new auroral feature on Jupiter

The PI's Perspective: Far From Home

SwRI scientists help identify the first stratospheric winds measured on Jupiter

Jupiter's Great Red Spot feeds on smaller storms

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.