What an interesting and fact-filled morning for our fourth grade students who had the privilege of meeting Villanova University professor Dr. Steven Goldsmith and learning about his upcoming trip to Antarctica. Dr. Goldsmith will be traveling near the South Pole to an area called the McMurdo Dry Valleys. This row of snow-free valleys in Antarctica represent an extreme desert environment, making them the perfect backdrop to Dr. Goldsmith’s scientific work involving rocks, water and minerals.
Currently summer in Antarctica (with average temperatures approximately 26.8 degrees), melting snow and ice cause running streams of water to form in the region. Dr. Goldsmith and other scientists on the expedition will collect water samples and mud samples to test the chemistry of the stream and mud. He will also bring back dirt samples that Villanova students will test to determine the origin of the dirt that sweeps into that area of Antarctica. The McMurdo Dry Valleys are believed to be the closest environment on earth to Mars. Experiments related to this expedition will be used to help scientists working on experiments with the Mars Rover.
Thank you, Dr. Goldsmith for enlightening our students on your fascinating scientific research in Antarctica!