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Planetary Lake Lander Project Update: Getting Acquainted
Decadal average values for (a) snow mass and snow melt, and (b) ozone and maximum and minimum temperature in the watershed of Laguna Negra.
Decadal average values for (a) snow mass and snow melt, and (b) ozone and maximum and minimum temperature in the watershed of Laguna Negra.

These representations of the three decadal values are shown to capture the dramatic environmental change that occurred during the 90s. Interannual and interseasonal fluctuations, timing shifts in precipitation, and lag response of the system that are not shown by the decadal averages are also part of this complex change.

June 24, 2011. Getting Acquainted...

This past couple of weeks were about getting better acquainted with what our probe will be and with our exploration site at Laguna Negra (33?S) in the Central Andes. The analysis of historical data archives is now underway and suggests that the region has experienced substantial environmental changes over the past three decades (Figure), most of them acquired by the 90s. For instance, 2.5% of ozone was lost and not recovered compared to the 80s. This is similar to our results obtained in the arid Andes (18-23?S), and consistent with the opening of the tropical belt. It is not only the magnitude of the changes but also their timing during the year that alters the system's balance, and there has been plenty of this in the past 30 years.

We also had our first impression of what the Planetary Lake Lander will look like. My meeting with the engineering team on June 21 showed that the design and the architecture of the probe are maturing well. We spent most of our time going through the communication links between the Lake Lander and the Shore Station, and between both of them and the Ground Data System at NASA Ames. We also discussed data pipelines within the probe - from the sensors and loggers to the various communication systems. I will have to add a robot to my telephone book! Finally, we zeroed in on our priorities for instruments and sensors for year 1 and what could be added in future years. It is now a matter of a few weeks before we have the equipment and instruments delivered at NASA Ames. At that time, the integration of the probe will start. Meanwhile, we are trying to forget that our first field deployment is scheduled for November...

Source: [Planetary Lake Lander Project]

Last Updated: 22 July 2011

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Last Updated: 22 Jul 2011