Saturday, February 5, 2011

February 5, 2011: In two weeks I take off for Dubai!

I have been invited to participate in NASA's Spaceward Bound program to the United Arab Emirates.  We will study cyanobacteria in the Arabian Desert, in order to better understand how life survives in harsh environments.  Some day what we learn may help us prospect for life on Mars - that is why NASA cares so much about cyanobacteria.

With me in the desert will be a international team of scientists, including NASA's Chris McKay and Jon Rask. Although the United Arab Emirates are famous for the rich and futuristic cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I won't be spending much time in them.  We'll be inland instead, mostly in the university town of Al-Ain, and in the Liwa Oasis.  The map below shows where Al-Ain is.  The green pencil points to it.

I will post photos and journal entries to this site from the field each day that I have internet access.


  1. Hi Mike! I don't know if you remember me, Peggy Taylor...I attended Spaceward Bound Mojave 2008. I rode in the van with you, Dr. Cowen, and Chris McKay...I've been following your school blog and with my own credential in hand I wanted to express my appreciation for all you do!! Tho science jobs are not plentiful in California, watching what you do in the classroom gives me great hope and inspiration for my future. Now you are going to Saudi Arabia!! Have a wonderful trip and I'll be following along using your blog! Again, what a great way to help us all learn and go places we may never go!

  2. Hi Peggy! Sure, I remember you and all that science we did in the Mojave. Thank you for the kind words. I am sure we'll meet again some where, some time. yours, Mike