Latest technology probes in the underground of Rio Tinto

Before 7 o'clock in the morning, the team of scientists and engineers from the Center for Astrobiology (INTA-CSIC) moved to the town of Nerva (Huelva) is already underway to work on the two underground perforations -339 and 612 meters- that began to be excavated in 2011 in the area surrounding the Peña de Hierro, in the international research mining basin of the Riotinto Mining Park.

Researchers are now working on the second phase of the project Iberian Pyritic Belt Subsurface Life Detection, IPBSL -detection of life in the subsoil of the Iberian Pyrite Belt-, a challenge from the technological point of view. The idea is to place a sensor system of small size, high sensitivity and minimal maintenance in the perforations to collect data on the metabolic activity of the subsoil. Afterwards, they are transmitted to & nbsp; through a remote system through 3G, wifi or satellite, so that CAB researchers can work with them from anywhere else.

José Antonio Rodríguez Manfredi, head of the CAB's instrumentation department, ensures that the challenge of this technology is that the devices are exposed to high pressures and very acidic conditions. In addition, they must have an innovative design because the wells have a very small diameter (60 mm). The traditional pH and ion glass sensors do not withstand high pressures and are large.





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