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The subsurface exploration of other planetary bodies can be used to unravel their geological history and assess their habitability. On Mars in particular, present-day habitable conditions may be restricted to the subsurface. Using a deep subsurface mine, we carried out a program of extraterrestrial analog research – MINe Analog Research (MINAR). MINAR aims to carry out the scientific study of the deep subsurface and test instrumentation designed for planetary surface exploration by investigating deep subsurface geology, whilst establishing the potential this technology has to be transferred into the mining industry. An integrated multi-instrument suite was used to investigate samples of representative evaporite minerals from a subsurface Permian evaporite sequence, in particular to assess mineral and elemental variations which provide small-scale regions of enhanced habitability. The instruments used were the Panoramic Camera emulator, Close-Up Imager, Raman spectrometer, Small Planetary Linear Impulse Tool, Ultrasonic drill and handheld X-ray diffraction (XRD). We present science results from the analog research and show that these instruments can be used to investigate in situ the geological context and mineralogical variations of a deep subsurface environment, and thus habitability, from millimetre to metre scales. We also show that these instruments are complementary. For example, the identification of primary evaporite minerals such as NaCl and KCl, which are difficult to detect by portable Raman spectrometers, can be accomplished with XRD. By contrast, Raman is highly effective at locating and detecting mineral inclusions in primary evaporite minerals. MINAR demonstrates the effective use of a deep subsurface environment for planetary instrument development, understanding the habitability of extreme deep subsurface environments on Earth and other planetary bodies, and advancing the use of space technology in economic mining.
Background. Patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) have symptoms that pre-dominantly concern washing (washers) or checking (checkers), or both. Functional neuroimaging has been used to identify the neural correlates of the urge to ritualize but has not distinguished between washing and checking symptoms in OCD. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to compare the neural response to emotive pictures in washers and checkers.
Methods. In one of two 5-minute experiments, washers (N = 7), checkers (N = 7) and age-matched normal controls (N = 14) were scanned while viewing alternating blocks of normally disgusting (rated as disgusting by all subjects) and neutral pictures. In the other experiment, all patients and a normal subgroup (N = 8) viewed alternating blocks of washer-relevant (rated as more disgusting by washers than normal controls or checkers) and neutral pictures.
Results. In all subjects, normally disgusting pictures activated visual regions implicated in perception of aversive stimuli and the insula, important in disgust perception. Only in washers were similar regions activated by washer-relevant pictures. In checkers, these pictures activated fronto-striatal regions associated with the urge to ritualize in OCD. Normal controls were more similar in neural response to checkers than washers to these pictures. Both normal controls and checkers had frontal regions activated significantly more by washer-relevant than normally disgusting pictures, and had these regions activated significantly more than washers by washer-relevant pictures.
Conclusions. We demonstrate a differential neural response to washer-relevant disgust in washers and checkers: only washers demonstrate a neural response to washer-relevant disgust associated with emotion perception rather than attention to non-emotive visual detail.