GEOLOGICAL REPOSITORIES: TECHNOLOGY AND HIGH TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT

 

GEOLOGICAL REPOSITORIES: TECHNOLOGY AND HIGH TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

 

12-14 October 2015

 

The STFC Network, GeoRepNet, will hold its third conference in Edinburgh focusing on exploring all aspects of high technology transfer into geological repositories and other deep subsurface facilities. Talks in all areas of high technology are welcome, particularly in STFC areas such as astronomy, particle physics and planetary sciences instrumentation. Of particular interest are examples of how technology can be transferred from these areas into the monitoring and characterisation of deep subsurface facilities and geological repositories.

 

The disposal of waste, including nuclear waste (from the nuclear power industry and other nuclear applications) and carbon dioxide (to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and associated greenhouse warming) constitutes one of the major environmental technical challenges of the 21st Century and has great importance on the national and international level. In the US alone, there is 40,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel and 400,000 cubic metres of high level nuclear waste to be disposed. By funding and bringing together researchers involved in high technology transfer, GeoRepNet seeks to enhance the links between high technology and subsurface exploration.

 

There is no registration fee and registrants selected for talks will have travel costs paid.

 

Registration deadline is August 31st, 2015.

 

For further information and to register visit http://www.astrobiology.ac.uk/georepnet2015/

 

Geobiology in Space Exploration Workshop

Geobiology in Space Exploration Workshop

- Extraterrestrial Subsurface Exploration and Geomicrobiology

 

25th – 28th May 2015, Iglesias, Sardinia, Italy.

 

Registration deadline May 15th

 

The exploration of extraterrestrial subsurface environments is one of the major modern challenges in space exploration. This second Geobiology in Space Exploration (GESE) workshop will build on the first GESE workshop held in Marrakech in 2011 and will be based in the town of Iglesias, Sardinia, from 25-28th May 2015. This workshop will explore strategies and approaches to the subsurface exploration of other planetary environments, and the geomicrobiology of such habitats.  The surrounding region has a large number of diverse mine and cave networks have a range of speleothem, microbial, and mineral features for geomicrobiological research. To register contact Toby Samuels (toby.samuels@ed.ac.uk).

 

1) Location and Transport

The workshop will be held within the town of Iglesias, Sardinia. The closest international airport is Cagliari, approximately 40 minute drive from Iglesias by car/shuttle.

 

 2) Accommodation

Accommodation is provided for all attendees (5 nights, 24th – 29th May) in shared rooms (2 people per room), in either one of the following hotels within Iglesias:
> Hotel Artu
> Hotel Eurohotel
Both hotels are in walking distance to the meeting and include breakfast. There will be a workshop dinner for all attendees (also provided) on Day 1 (25th May), and lunch will be provided on all four days, including the field excursions. For all other evening meals, we encourage attendees to explore the culinary delights that Iglesias has to offer!

 

3) Field excursions

Guided excursions will take place on Days 3 and 4 to Is Zuddas cave, Su Zurfuru Mine and Su Mannau Cave. The aim of these visits is for attendees to explore the wide range of subsurface environments within which geomicrobiological and mineralogical processes occur. These sites have undergone very little investigation and hold much potential for future research projects in mineral-microbe interactions, and how such subsurface environments may be explored with existing and future space technology. Transport will be provided between Iglesias to the cave and mine sites. The cave sites we will visit are not physically challenging, but we strongly recommend that all attendees bring comfortable and study footwear as the floor may be slippy. Likewise, it can be colder within the cave environment, so please bring suitable clothing. Cave sites as follows:

 

  • Is Zuddas: The owners of the cave are keen in collaborating for research and there will be an opportunity before lunch for some people to take samples, so if you’re interested in this make sure to bring sampling equipment. As it is a show cave it is not possible to have everyone wandering around the cave sampling unsupervised, but if anyone sees something of interest then let us know.
  • Su Mannau cave: Same as for Is Zuddas.
  • Zurfuru mine: Here all people can take samples if needed.

 

*See below (#5) for information on pre-workshop sampling trips

 

4) Programme

 

GESE Workshop II: Final Programme

Evening: Ice breaker/Registration
DAY 1 – CONFERENCE ROOMS
9.15 Registration and coffee
10.10 Welcome and overview of the ESA Geobiology in Space Exploration topical team
Session 1: Cave and subsurface geomicrobiology and biosignatures
10.30 Brandi Reese: Re-Defining the Subsurface Biosphere: Detection and Characterization of Fungal Populations from Energy Limited Deep Marine Subsurface Sediments.
10.50 Fariha Hasan: Biodegradation of Polyethylene by Bacterial Strains Isolated from Kashmir cave, Buner, Pakistan.
11.10 Coffee Break
11.30 Invited talk. Penny Boston: Cave microbiology.
12.00 Hugo Moors: Suisse case study of monitoring the shift of microbial communities after injection of nitrate and/or acetate into a borehole in Opalinus Clay.
12.20 Stefan Leuko: The archaeal diversity in a cave system: An analogue environment for life on other planets?
12.40 Lunch
14.00 Invited talk. Jo De Waele: Sardinia’s caves
14.30 Toby Samuels: Microbial rock weathering of shale and the isolation of Variovorax paradoxus as low nutrient extremophile and potential utilizer of kerogen based carbon.
15.00 Coffee Break
Session 2: Extraterrestrial subsurface exploration
15.30 Lauren Fletcher: A Miniature Thermal-IR Radiometer and Reflectometer for the Characterization of Subsurface Habitability and Presence of Water Ice.
15.50 Susana Direito: GeoRepNet – The Geological Repository Network.
16.10 Invited talk. Charles Cockell: Mine Analogue Programme.
16.40 Valentina Marcheselli: The case of extremophiles. Exploring laboratory and field practices in astrobiology.
17.00 FINISH
19.00 Workshop Dinner (TBD Venue)
DAY 2 – CONFERENCE ROOMS
9.00 Coffee
Session 3: Mineral – microbe interactions and biogeochemical cycling
9.30 Invited talk. Christian Schroeder: Signatures of microbe-mineral interactions and biogeochemical cycling.
10.00 Claire Cousins: Chemolithotrophic communities and isotopic biosignatures at a glaciovolcanic hot spring, Iceland.
10.20 Kai Finster: Eroded silicates as a source of hydrogen peroxide and its effect on -bacterial survival.
10.40 Bo Bylos: The interactions of the bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans with basalt rock, on Earth and in Space.
11.00 Donald Pan: Viral Influence on Terrestrial Subsurface Carbon Biogeochemical Cycling.
11.20 Coffee Break
Session 4: Geobiology in space
11.50 Invited talk. Loredana Bressone: ESA CAVES astronaut programme.
12.20 Natasha Nicholson: Biomining in space: The BioRock experiment
12.40 Jean-Pierre de Vera: BIOMEX and BIOSIGN: Two space experiments preparing future space missions to Mars and the icy moons in the solar system.
13.00 Lunch
14.30 ESA Geobiology in Space Exploration Roadmap (breakout sessions and discussion)
17.00 FINISH
DAY 3 – Geomining park cave trips
DAY 4 – Geomining park cave trips (am); University conference rooms (pm)
TBD am Leave Iglesias
12.00 Lunch and return to Iglesias
14.00 Open discussion – “Cave systems for geobiology research”

- Ideas bringing together cave geobiology and new/in situ  instrumentation

- How cave geobiology can be applied to space (e.g. long-term experiments, geobiology for human space exploration, geobiology for planetary exploration).

- Scope for geobiology activities in ESA Caves?

16.00 WORKSHOP END

 

 

5) Pre-workshop sampling trips

On the Saturday and Sunday before the workshop, dedicated sampling trips for up to 6 people can be arranged to the Coronae sa Craba cave (quartzite cave) and Sa Marchesa mine (Pb-Zn-Fe mine). This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to acquire geomicrobiology samples from exceptional cave environments that otherwise have limited accessibility. If anyone is interested in sampling at these sites before the start of the workshop please contact Professor Jo De Waele (jo.dewaele@unibo.it) to arrange this. Please note these sampling trips will be at individuals own expense (vehicle fuel, food, and equipment hire costs).

 

 

Workshop and discussion in the caves of Sardinia: Extraterrestrial Subsurface Exploration

Extraterrestrial Subsurface Exploration and Geomicrobiology

 

Workshop, discussions, and study in the caves of Sardinia

 

The exploration of extraterrestrial subsurface environments is one of the major modern challenges in space exploration. This second Geobiology in Space Exploration (GESE) workshop will build on the first GESE workshop held in Marrakech in 2011 and will be based in the town of Iglesias, Sardinia, from 25-28th May 2015. This workshop will explore strategies and approaches to the subsurface exploration of other planetary environments, and the geomicrobiology of such habitats.  The surrounding region has a large number of diverse mine and cave networks have a range of speleothem, microbial, and mineral features for geomicrobiological research.

 

The first two days of the workshop will involve presentations, round table discussions and poster sessions in the conference facilities of the University of Sulcis Iglesiente, with abstracts invited from the following themes:

 

  • Subsurface exploration
  • Instruments for extraterrestrial subsurface exploration
  • ISS Experiments and radiation geobiology
  • Mineral-microbe interactions
  • Biogeochemical cycling of bioessential elements – on Earth and in Space
  • Geobiology and heavy metals/toxicity
  • Cave and subsurface geomicrobiology and biosignatures

 

The following two days will involve field excursions to the three following sites:  Is Zuddas Cave, Su Zurfuru Mine and Su Mannau Cave.

 

These sites have a variety of microbial environments, “moonmilk”, mineral deposits on the rock surface below wall seeps, unusual sulphate deposits, and active hydrological and sedimentary systems. These will be educational and informative trips, with some brief opportunities for sampling. Please note we recommend sturdy footwear/walking boots for all cave tours. On Saturday and Sunday before the workshop sampling trips for up to 6 people can be arranged to the Corona ‘e sa Craba cave (quartzite cave) and Sa Marchesa mine (Pb-Zn-Fe mine). If anyone is interested in sampling at these sites before the start of the workshop please contact Professor Jo De Waele (jo.dewaele@unibo.it) to arrange this.

 

The cost of attendance is €450 which includes accommodation, lunch, workshop dinner, and all excursions during the workshop. To attend please register by clicking this link and submit an abstract (no longer than 200 words) for oral or poster presentation to Toby Samuels (toby.samuels@ed.ac.uk) by April 17th.

 

 

This meeting is co-organized between the ESA Topical team GESE (Geobiology in Space Exploration), the UK Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh, and academics at the Italian Institute of Speleology at the University of Bologna and the University of Sulcis Iglesiente, with additional support from members of the Geomining Park in Sardinia.