Caving with the PowerLab C

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A man in a cave

Our PowerLab C Winner Associate Professor Josh Sebree, from the University of Northern Iowa, looks for life in the harshest environments. His search for organisms that can survive in habitats analogous with alien worlds has taken him and his students out of the cleanliness and stability of the lab, and down into the earth.

“We’re currently on a trip through various caves in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota,” Josh says, “we’re looking for extreme life organisms and analogs to habitable extraterrestrial environments.” 

Josh has been doing this for years. This time, however, he has taken along a PowerLab C.

 “We’re periodically taking measurements of air quality, water quality, and human fatigue,” Josh says, “It’s been very easy to take the data while in the field. We just did equipment calibration and built some data acquisition modules before we left, and now we just need to open the module and run the acquisition.”

The PowerLab C was designed with flexibility and portability in mind. Capable of running off of a laptop or rechargeable powerpack, the PowerLab C was the perfect data acquisition system for taking caving. Without it, ongoing parameters like fatigue couldn’t be measured, and samples of the water and air would need to be carried along for the journey for later testing. Having the lab right there in a backpack enables the team to measure new parameters, to get their results quickly, and to enable those results to guide their exploration. 

Research can lead you in unexpected directions when you let it, something Josh knows all too well. This current research area for his lab was born out of an expedition for his students. “The work started as a classroom project for students to experience a mock-NASA mission,” Josh says, “and has turned into a full research discipline in my lab.”

We will be catching up with Josh again after this latest round of expeditions, to find out how he and his students found using the PowerLab C deep underground.

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Students in a cave using the power lab C
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Students using a powerLab c in a cave

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PowerLab C

PowerLab C is our latest data acquisition device based on modern digital technology. Sitting at the heart of our new research system, PowerLab C is designed to connect our next-generation C Series digital devices with advanced sub-microsecond time synchronization.             
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