A Greeting from PLL Team Member Eric Wartenweiler Smith

By Eric Smith

Hi All,

Part of my role on the Lake Lander Project will be writing posts for this blog to let you all know what the PLL team is achieving on a regular basis. I tend to write short posts on a specific subject, hopefully accompanied by a good photo, and sometimes with links to more details or information. This will be in addition to working on the bathymetric survey of the lake and supporting other portions of the mission.

A little explanation about how I came to be on the PLL team for 2012. Principal Investigator Nathalie Cabrol and I met when she was preparing a team for the 2006 High Lakes Expedition. The project would include climbing Licancabur Volcano in the Andes and diving into its crater lake in a project to study the origins of life in extreme environments and better understand how to look for evidence of past life on Mars. As a scientific diver and research vessel captain who enjoys extreme environments, it sounded like just my cup of tea.

During those 6 weeks at high altitudes in the Andes we collected a lot of data from that beautiful lake on Licancabur, climbed 3 other volcanoes, and developed a great sense of teamwork.

Something that I confirmed during that trip is that as much as scientific exploration, I also love sharing the excitement that comes with being involved in a field expedition. So when Nathalie contacted me again this year to help out with Education and Public Outreach, it offered the best of both worlds.

So tonight I find myself in the Andes Again, on an expedition that I find incredibly exciting. And cant wait to tell you about. I hope you enjoy the story to come!

All the best,

Eric

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