Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday March 12, 2012: Return to the Namib

I am going to Namibia!  Specifically, to the Gobabeb Training & Research Centre, in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, in the Namib Desert.  I was lucky enough to go there two years ago with NASA’s Spaceward Bound Program.  While there, I placed an array of sixty marble and glass tiles in the desert to see if cyanobacteria would colonize the undersides.  The project grew, and now there are similar arrays of tiles other places around the word.  You can see more about this project at

Now it is time for the two-year checkup.

The pencil point on this atlas shows where I am going.

Last time I tagged along with over two dozen scientists, teachers, journalists and students from (quite literally) all seven continents while they studied microbes in the desert.  Who will be there this time?  Certainly, Professor Don Cowan and his team from the University of the Western Cape in South Africa will be there.  He is the leader of this expedition.  Dr. Chris McKay, NASA astrobiologist, will be there also with his team.  It was Dr. McKay who invited me to come to Africa two years ago.  Thank you, Dr. McKay!
This project is supported by a grant to me from the National Geographic Society and by NASA’s Spaceward Bound Program.

Assuming I can get some time on the internet at Gobabeb, I plan to post pictures and journal entries from the field on this site.  I depart on April 20, 2012.  It will take me a few days to post things once I get there on the 22nd, so be patient and check back.

yours always, Michael Wing