I have been thinking about a few things in the past month: my research, field season in August, Space Camp with CPSX, and what I want to do in the future. It has been an interesting time thinking over these because it has opened my eyes to what I really want to do. As I have said in abstracts, assignments, and my website using Earth as analog is the best approach to understanding other planetary bodies in our Solar System. Using Craters of the Moon as my field site, and completing the planetary surface processes field school has shown me Earth has huge potential for planetary field analog study. We use lava flows, impact craters, alluvial fans, river systems, estuaries, and of course the Canadian Arctic as comparisons for studying the surfaces of other planets (the images below are examples). Coupling analog work with remote sensing and rover data can reveal an exponential amount of information about other worlds but they cannot replace some of the vital information only attainable by a geologist in the field. Analog work, along with all Earth and planetary science fields can push space exploration forward in the world.
I do love analog work, it has allowed me to learn new programs, analytical techniques, and expand my knowledge on remote sensing methods whether its earth or planetary science based. It lead me to think what I wanted to do after my Masters. A PhD was always in my mind because I love learning more about Earth and other planets, building my Earth and planetary science networking and career, and acquiring new academic and life skills. A PhD is becoming more prominent as the weeks go by, I just have to be up for the challenge ahead.
Now, back to the research. Well all I can say is 10 more samples are ready for XRF analysis, however I have been informed by Audrey (Dr Bouvier at Western University Ontario) that no one is currently trained to use the XRF machine and until that is sorted out I'll have to find an external institution or organization to run my samples. I have 18 thin sections currently being cut: 10 sre samples I collected last year and 8 were sent by Dr S. Kob Nawotniak (NASA FINESSE and Idaho State University). These samples were selected because they are from areas in the field I have yet to analyze. I submitted them a few weeks ago so I should get them by mid-July.
The field plan in August, I talked about in my last blog. To summarize, I plan to conduct more selective sampling by traversing along the Devil's Orchard lava flow, walk further out onto Serrate Flow, take more detailed field notes of Highway Flow, and traverse along North Crater. Blue Dragon is to be sampled during the return journey from Serrate Flow to minimize the stress on my legs walking out of the lava field. I'll be having a health and safety telecon meeting on the 11th of July with Team Canada and the FINESSE team, making sure everyone understands the risks and hazards out in the field.
The most recent research related work I have been up to is writing out my introduction, methodology, background, and results. I have been re-reading papers for my literature review and have continued to add more research journals and textbooks to the pile. This is something I'll be doing along side the CPSX Space Camp during July. In August I'll be preparing for the field!!! I gave myself a long term deadline to submit a manuscript to a journal, discussing my remote sensing, petrographic, and geochemical data. The journals under consideration are "Journal of Petrology", "Bulletin of Volcanology", and "Earth and Planetary Science Letters". My personal deadline is the first week of December before the holidays, I plan to have drafts completed during the fall and more up to date figures created using Photoshop.
I have left links to the journals page if you are interested in learning more about them:
I'll be updating this blog more frequently as the reading list builds up and if I have anything interesting to discuss. I am always open to opinions when it comes to science and learning in general!!!