Follow Dr. Katrina Edwards, as she explores the microbial life at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean

11-10-2011

ANOTHER happy day – we are finishing up our last core as I write! We are having to complete operations a bit earlier than we initially thought due to strong headwinds all the way to the Azores, our port. Nonetheless I’m quite satisfied with our accomplishments – we met all primary objectives for sediment coring – four cores in total, all of them penetrating fully through the sediment and hitting basement at the bottom, followed by extended core barrel (XCB) coring of the upper most basement. The XCB coring is in order to get a better recovery of the basement/sediment interface, which cannot be retrieved using the rotary core barrel (RCB) coring technique we were using to drill our deep holes.

Later today we begin our long transit home. It will be an equally busy time for us as there is much to accomplish before we hit port. Completion of analyses, packing and cleaning, LOTS of report writing and for me and my co-chief scientist, Wolfgang Bach, and a lot of editing. This is not the favorite part of my job.

I was asked about what the favorite thing about my job was just the other day by a 3rd grade child from South Pasadena, California – my home town and the elementary school that my children attend. We have an extensive outreach and education program ongoing out here the entire expedition. This is led by a teacher in our science party, Jennifer Magnusson, who coordinates a variety of activities including video-conferences with school groups. These are meant to introduce the children to the ship, drilling operations, and the scientists and science going on out here.

This week my youngest daughter’s class Skyped in to conference with myself and another scientist onboard, Geoff Wheat (who guest blogged here earlier). The kids asked a lot of great questions about operations out here, and what it was like to be a scientist. I told them the best part about my job was getting to do and learn about the things I was most curious about – making my own scientific destiny every day, essentially. That is what brought me to this improbable location here in the mid-Atlantic along with over one hundred of my scientific collegues and collaborators – I cannot imagine a more exciting job.