Microbiology & Virology

Detecting Microbiology In The Upper Atmosphere: Relative-velocity Filtered Sampling

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
October 15, 2023
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Detecting Microbiology In The Upper Atmosphere: Relative-velocity Filtered Sampling
Earth’s upper atmosphere

The purpose of this paper is to re-open from a practical perspective the question of the extent in altitude of the Earth’s biosphere.

We make a number of different suggestions for how searches for biological material could be conducted in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere, colloquially referred to as the ignoreosphere due to its lack of investigation in the meteorological community compared to other regions.

Relatively recent technological advances such as CubeSats in Very Low Earth Orbit or more standard approaches such as the rocket borne MAGIC meteoric smoke particle sampler, are shown as potentially viable for sampling biological material in the ignoreosphere.

The issue of contamination is discussed and a potential solution to the problem is proposed by the means of a new detector design which filters for particles based on their size and relative-velocity to the detector.

Arjun Berera, Daniel J. Brener, Charles S. Cockell

Comments: In Press Astrobiology 2023
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics (physics.ao-ph); Biological Physics (physics.bio-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:2302.09280 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2302.09280v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Daniel J. Brener
[v1] Sat, 18 Feb 2023 10:25:08 UTC (164 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻