Ladakh: Diverse, high-altitude extreme environments for off-earth analogue and astrobiology research

Siddharth Pandey, Jonathan Clarke, Preeti Nema, Rosalba Bonaccorsi, Sanjoy Som, Mukund Sharma, Binita Phartiyal, Sudha Rajamani, Rakesh Mogul, Javier Martin-Torres, Parag Vaishampayan, Jennifer Blank, Luke Steller, Anushree Srivastava, Randheer Singh, Savannah McGuirk, María Paz Zorzano, Johannes Milan Güttler, Teresa Mendaza, Alvaro Soria-SalinasShamim Ahmad, Arif Ansari, Veeru Kant Singh, Chaitanya Mungi, Niraja Bapat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper highlights unique sites in Ladakh, India, investigated during our 2016 multidisciplinary pathfinding expedition to the region. We summarize our scientific findings and the site's potential to support science exploration, testing of new technologies and science protocols within the framework of astrobiology research. Ladakh has several accessible, diverse, pristine and extreme environments at very high altitudes (3000-5700 m above sea level). These sites include glacial passes, sand dunes, hot springs and saline lake shorelines with periglacial features. We report geological observations and environmental characteristics (of astrobiological significance) along with the development of regolith-landform maps for cold high passes. The effects of the diurnal water cycle on salt deliquescence were studied using the ExoMars Mission instrument mockup: HabitAbility: Brines, Irradiance and Temperature (HABIT). It recorded the existence of an interaction between the diurnal water cycle in the atmosphere and salts in the soil (which can serve as habitable liquid water reservoirs). Life detection assays were also tested to establish the best protocols for biomass measurements in brines, periglacial ice-mud and permafrost melt water environments in the Tso-Kar region. This campaign helped confirm the relevance of clays and brines as interest targets of research on Mars for biomarker preservation and life detection.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Astrobiology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Earth analogs
exobiology
brines
hydrologic cycle
high altitude
hydrological cycle
periglacial feature
salt
hot springs
water reservoirs
soil salts
permafrost
landforms
saline lake
thermal spring
regolith
dunes
meltwater
habitability
sea level

Keywords

  • analogue
  • astrobiology
  • high-elevation
  • hot-springs
  • India
  • Ladakh
  • permafrost

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Ladakh : Diverse, high-altitude extreme environments for off-earth analogue and astrobiology research. / Pandey, Siddharth; Clarke, Jonathan; Nema, Preeti; Bonaccorsi, Rosalba; Som, Sanjoy; Sharma, Mukund; Phartiyal, Binita; Rajamani, Sudha; Mogul, Rakesh; Martin-Torres, Javier; Vaishampayan, Parag; Blank, Jennifer; Steller, Luke; Srivastava, Anushree; Singh, Randheer; McGuirk, Savannah; Zorzano, María Paz; Güttler, Johannes Milan; Mendaza, Teresa; Soria-Salinas, Alvaro; Ahmad, Shamim; Ansari, Arif; Singh, Veeru Kant; Mungi, Chaitanya; Bapat, Niraja.

In: International Journal of Astrobiology, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pandey, S, Clarke, J, Nema, P, Bonaccorsi, R, Som, S, Sharma, M, Phartiyal, B, Rajamani, S, Mogul, R, Martin-Torres, J, Vaishampayan, P, Blank, J, Steller, L, Srivastava, A, Singh, R, McGuirk, S, Zorzano, MP, Güttler, JM, Mendaza, T, Soria-Salinas, A, Ahmad, S, Ansari, A, Singh, VK, Mungi, C & Bapat, N 2019, 'Ladakh: Diverse, high-altitude extreme environments for off-earth analogue and astrobiology research', International Journal of Astrobiology. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1473550419000119
Pandey, Siddharth ; Clarke, Jonathan ; Nema, Preeti ; Bonaccorsi, Rosalba ; Som, Sanjoy ; Sharma, Mukund ; Phartiyal, Binita ; Rajamani, Sudha ; Mogul, Rakesh ; Martin-Torres, Javier ; Vaishampayan, Parag ; Blank, Jennifer ; Steller, Luke ; Srivastava, Anushree ; Singh, Randheer ; McGuirk, Savannah ; Zorzano, María Paz ; Güttler, Johannes Milan ; Mendaza, Teresa ; Soria-Salinas, Alvaro ; Ahmad, Shamim ; Ansari, Arif ; Singh, Veeru Kant ; Mungi, Chaitanya ; Bapat, Niraja. / Ladakh : Diverse, high-altitude extreme environments for off-earth analogue and astrobiology research. In: International Journal of Astrobiology. 2019.
@article{8fff290706f44a18a2ad91b3de57dd88,
title = "Ladakh: Diverse, high-altitude extreme environments for off-earth analogue and astrobiology research",
abstract = "This paper highlights unique sites in Ladakh, India, investigated during our 2016 multidisciplinary pathfinding expedition to the region. We summarize our scientific findings and the site's potential to support science exploration, testing of new technologies and science protocols within the framework of astrobiology research. Ladakh has several accessible, diverse, pristine and extreme environments at very high altitudes (3000-5700 m above sea level). These sites include glacial passes, sand dunes, hot springs and saline lake shorelines with periglacial features. We report geological observations and environmental characteristics (of astrobiological significance) along with the development of regolith-landform maps for cold high passes. The effects of the diurnal water cycle on salt deliquescence were studied using the ExoMars Mission instrument mockup: HabitAbility: Brines, Irradiance and Temperature (HABIT). It recorded the existence of an interaction between the diurnal water cycle in the atmosphere and salts in the soil (which can serve as habitable liquid water reservoirs). Life detection assays were also tested to establish the best protocols for biomass measurements in brines, periglacial ice-mud and permafrost melt water environments in the Tso-Kar region. This campaign helped confirm the relevance of clays and brines as interest targets of research on Mars for biomarker preservation and life detection.",
keywords = "analogue, astrobiology, high-elevation, hot-springs, India, Ladakh, permafrost",
author = "Siddharth Pandey and Jonathan Clarke and Preeti Nema and Rosalba Bonaccorsi and Sanjoy Som and Mukund Sharma and Binita Phartiyal and Sudha Rajamani and Rakesh Mogul and Javier Martin-Torres and Parag Vaishampayan and Jennifer Blank and Luke Steller and Anushree Srivastava and Randheer Singh and Savannah McGuirk and Zorzano, {Mar{\'i}a Paz} and G{\"u}ttler, {Johannes Milan} and Teresa Mendaza and Alvaro Soria-Salinas and Shamim Ahmad and Arif Ansari and Singh, {Veeru Kant} and Chaitanya Mungi and Niraja Bapat",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1017/S1473550419000119",
language = "English",
journal = "International Journal of Astrobiology",
issn = "1473-5504",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Ladakh

T2 - Diverse, high-altitude extreme environments for off-earth analogue and astrobiology research

AU - Pandey, Siddharth

AU - Clarke, Jonathan

AU - Nema, Preeti

AU - Bonaccorsi, Rosalba

AU - Som, Sanjoy

AU - Sharma, Mukund

AU - Phartiyal, Binita

AU - Rajamani, Sudha

AU - Mogul, Rakesh

AU - Martin-Torres, Javier

AU - Vaishampayan, Parag

AU - Blank, Jennifer

AU - Steller, Luke

AU - Srivastava, Anushree

AU - Singh, Randheer

AU - McGuirk, Savannah

AU - Zorzano, María Paz

AU - Güttler, Johannes Milan

AU - Mendaza, Teresa

AU - Soria-Salinas, Alvaro

AU - Ahmad, Shamim

AU - Ansari, Arif

AU - Singh, Veeru Kant

AU - Mungi, Chaitanya

AU - Bapat, Niraja

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - This paper highlights unique sites in Ladakh, India, investigated during our 2016 multidisciplinary pathfinding expedition to the region. We summarize our scientific findings and the site's potential to support science exploration, testing of new technologies and science protocols within the framework of astrobiology research. Ladakh has several accessible, diverse, pristine and extreme environments at very high altitudes (3000-5700 m above sea level). These sites include glacial passes, sand dunes, hot springs and saline lake shorelines with periglacial features. We report geological observations and environmental characteristics (of astrobiological significance) along with the development of regolith-landform maps for cold high passes. The effects of the diurnal water cycle on salt deliquescence were studied using the ExoMars Mission instrument mockup: HabitAbility: Brines, Irradiance and Temperature (HABIT). It recorded the existence of an interaction between the diurnal water cycle in the atmosphere and salts in the soil (which can serve as habitable liquid water reservoirs). Life detection assays were also tested to establish the best protocols for biomass measurements in brines, periglacial ice-mud and permafrost melt water environments in the Tso-Kar region. This campaign helped confirm the relevance of clays and brines as interest targets of research on Mars for biomarker preservation and life detection.

AB - This paper highlights unique sites in Ladakh, India, investigated during our 2016 multidisciplinary pathfinding expedition to the region. We summarize our scientific findings and the site's potential to support science exploration, testing of new technologies and science protocols within the framework of astrobiology research. Ladakh has several accessible, diverse, pristine and extreme environments at very high altitudes (3000-5700 m above sea level). These sites include glacial passes, sand dunes, hot springs and saline lake shorelines with periglacial features. We report geological observations and environmental characteristics (of astrobiological significance) along with the development of regolith-landform maps for cold high passes. The effects of the diurnal water cycle on salt deliquescence were studied using the ExoMars Mission instrument mockup: HabitAbility: Brines, Irradiance and Temperature (HABIT). It recorded the existence of an interaction between the diurnal water cycle in the atmosphere and salts in the soil (which can serve as habitable liquid water reservoirs). Life detection assays were also tested to establish the best protocols for biomass measurements in brines, periglacial ice-mud and permafrost melt water environments in the Tso-Kar region. This campaign helped confirm the relevance of clays and brines as interest targets of research on Mars for biomarker preservation and life detection.

KW - analogue

KW - astrobiology

KW - high-elevation

KW - hot-springs

KW - India

KW - Ladakh

KW - permafrost

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85067357475&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85067357475&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1017/S1473550419000119

DO - 10.1017/S1473550419000119

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85067357475

JO - International Journal of Astrobiology

JF - International Journal of Astrobiology

SN - 1473-5504

ER -