Recently in the Missions, Hardware, Software, & Sensors Category


Researchers supported in part by the NASA Astrobiology Program have experimentally tested a method that could aid in the search for life... including life as we don't know it.

ExoFit trials are field campaigns financed by ESA to test the Rosalind Franklin rover and to enhance collaboration practices between ExoMars working groups. During the first trial, a replicate of the ExoMars rover was remotely operated from Oxfordshire (United Kingdom) to perform a complex sequence of scientific operation at the Tabernas Desert (Spain).

Many biologically produced chiral molecules such as amino acids and sugars show a preference for left or right handedness (homochirality). Light reflected by biological materials such as algae and leaves therefore exhibits a small amount of circular polarization that strongly depends on wavelength.

A device developed by scientists at the CY Cergy Paris University and Paris Observatory promises insight into how the building blocks of life form in outer space.

Although Earth is uniquely situated in the solar system to support creatures that call it home, different forms of life could have once existed, or might still exist, on other planets. But finding traces of past or current lifeforms on other worlds is challenging.

ORIGIN Mass Spectrometer

The question of whether life exists beyond the Earth is one of humanity's most fundamental questions. Future NASA missions, for example, aim to examine the ice moons of Jupiter and Saturn, which may potentially shelter life in the liquid oceans underneath the thick layer of ice, on the ground.

A little robotic explorer will be rolling into Antarctica this month to perform a gymnastic feat -- driving upside down under sea ice.

If you've seen dental plaque or pond scum, you've met a biofilm. Among the oldest forms of life on Earth, these ubiquitous, slimy buildups of bacteria grow on nearly everything exposed to moisture and leave behind common tell-tale textures and structures identifying them as living or once-living organisms.

NASA's investment in new instruments to analyze extraterrestrial samples is insufficient to provide for replacement of existing instruments, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. If NASA does not invest additional funds into the replacement of current instrumentation and development of new technologies, technical staff support, and training for the next generation of analysts, current capabilities cannot be sustained, and the full scientific impact afforded by returned samples might not be realized.

A New Test for Life on Other Planets

A simple chemistry method could vastly enhance how scientists search for signs of life on other planets.