Crew 228 Science Report 06Oct2021
Crew Scientist / GreenHab Officer Inga Popovaite
Today, Lindsay continued to investigate reddish-brown regolith she
collected along the slopes of the Jotunheim
structure, an inverted river bed located approximately two kilometers
North of the HAB at 38.41712 N, -110.78466 W (NAD27). The regolith
were collected from the same geographical feature sampled by Maggiori
et al. (2020), who confirmed the presences of microbes from all three
kingdoms of life, including extremophiles that could potentially
survive the harsh elements of the Martian environment, such as
psychrophiles, halophiles, and UV-resistant microorganisms. In the
ScienceDome, Lindsay extracted DNA using a Soil DNA Isolation
Plus Kit (Product #64000, Norgen Biotek Corp) and then prepared
the DNA samples into libraries using the Field Sequencing Kit
(SQK-LRK001, Oxford Nanopore Technology).
She has been using handheld DNA sequencer MinION to basecall and
sequence the libraries and the MinKNOW software to perform
metagenomics analyses on the reads from the MinION. Overall, this
process will allow Lindsay to identify what organisms, if any, are
present in the regolith samples. She aims to validate the findings of
Maggiori et al. (2020), only now conducting the complete experimental
process from regolith sample collection to metagenomics analysis while
undergoing planetary exploration simulation at MDRS, all as a
proof-of-concept that metagenomics studies can be completed in-situ in
this remote environment.
She investigated two regolith samples and got very low DNA yield so far. She will continue with additional samples to see if she can get better DNA yield. Either way, she will determine if she can identify particular microbes from low DNA yield. She plans to repeat the experiment in the home lab for comparison.
Nothing to report today.
I am studying small mixed gender crew interactions. There is no
significant gender difference in task performance and physical
adaptation in isolated, confined, and extreme environments (Harm et
al. 2001; Kanas and Manzey 2008; Mark et al. 2014). Mixed-gender crews
are praised as more efficient, cohesive, and with overall better team
climate than men-only teams. But at the same time gender differences
are recognized as a source of additional tension in a crew (Bishop
2004; Kahn and Leon 2000; Kring and Kaminski 2012; Leon 1991, 2005).
In my dissertation I aim to investigate gender inequality and
differences from a socio-structural point of view in order to help to
send a well-functioning group of women and men to Mars.
Currently at MDRS I collect ethnographic (participant observation)
data for the last chapter of my dissertation. In addition to rich
original data, this chapter will provide context to the rest of the
project. You can read more about the first part of my research in previous science reports.
Bishop, Sheryl L. 2004. “Evaluating Teams in Extreme Environments:
From Issues to Answers.” Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine
Bishop, Sheryl L., Ryan Kobrick, Melissa Battler, and Kim Binsted.
2010. “FMARS 2007: Stress and Coping in an Arctic Mars Simulation.”
Acta Astronautica 66(9):1353–67. doi: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2009.11.00
Harm, Deborah, Richard Jennings, Janice Meck, Michael Powell, Lakshmi
Putcha, Clarence Sams, Suzanne Shneider, Linda Shackelford, Scott
Smith, and Peggy Whitson. 2001. “Genome and Hormones: Gender
Differences in Physiology. Invited Review: Gender Issues Related to
Space Flight in NASA Perspective.” Journal of Applied Psychology
Kahn, P., and G. Leon. 2000. “Group Climate & Individual Functioning
in an All-Women Antarctic Expedition Team.” Journal of Human
Performance in Extreme Environments 5(1). doi: 10.7771/2327-2937.1005.
Kanas, Nick, and Dietrich Manzey. 2008. Space Psychology and
Psychiatry. Springer Science & Business Media.
Kring, Jason P., and Megan A. Kaminski. 2012. “Gender Composition and
Crew Cohesion During Long-Duration Space Missions.” in On Orbit and
Beyond: Psychological Perspectives on Human Spaceflight, edited by D.
A. Vakoch. Springer Science & Business Media.
Leon, G. R. 2005. “Men and Women in Space.” Aviation, Space, and
Environmental Medicine 76(6 Suppl):B84-8.
Leon, Gloria R. 1991. “Individual and Group Process Characteristics of
Polar Expedition Teams.” Environment and Behavior 23(6):723–48. doi:
Maggiori, Catherine, Jessica Stromberg, Yolanda Blanco, Jacqueline
Goordial, Edward Cloutis, Miriam García-Villadangos, Victor Parro, and
Lyle Whyte. 2020. “The Limits, Capabilities, and Potential for Life
Detection with MinION Sequencing in a Paleochannel Mars Analog.”
Astrobiology 20(3):375–93. doi: 10.1089/ast.2018.1964.
Mark, Saralyn, Graham B. I. Scott, Dorit B. Donoviel, Lauren B.
Leveton, Erin Mahoney, John B. Charles, and Bette Siegel. 2014. “The
Impact of Sex and Gender on Adaptation to Space: Executive Summary.”
Journal of Women’s Health (2002) 23(11):941–47. doi: