Friday November 22, 2019
Home Lead Story NASA Grants $...

NASA Grants $7 mn For New Life Detection

"We're working to transform how to measure biosignatures, or signs of life, in and outside of our solar system," Graham said

0
//
NASA, Hubble, Keplar, asteroids
Nasa's Opportunity rover might have 'died' on Mars. Flickr

NASA has awarded nearly $7 million for a fresh interdisciplinary project to detect new, non-Earth-like life on Mars, Jupiter and Saturn’s icy moons.

The Laboratory for Agnostic Biosignatures (LAB) will lay the groundwork for characterising potential biosignatures, or signs of life, a statement late on Sunday said.

LAB’s initial research focus is on four features of life that do not assume any specific biochemistry, and will branch out from these concepts to build a framework for looking for life “as we don’t know it”.

These features include: patterns of chemical complexity, surface complexity, chemical disequilibrium with the surrounding environment, and evidence of energy transfer.

These indicators of life were chosen since they can be framed in a way that doesn’t bias observations toward the specific forms of life on Earth and are methods that could be implemented on flight missions, the statement noted.

NASA, gamma-ray collection
“Detecting life in an agnostic fashion means not using characteristics particular to Earth life,” said Heather Graham at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Pixabay

The LAB is a consortium of 15 team members from universities and institutions around the world constituting of planetary scientists, biologists, chemists, computer scientists, mathematicians and veteran instrument scientists.

“Our goal is to go beyond what we currently understand and devise ways to find forms of life we can scarcely imagine,” principal investigator Sarah Stewart Johnson from Georgetown University, said in the statement.

The team of investigators will lay the groundwork for characterising potential biosignatures that do not presuppose any particular molecular framework, as well as design tools for their detection and strategies for interpretation.

Also Read- Astronomers Found Ancient Star Formed By Big Bang

“Detecting life in an agnostic fashion means not using characteristics particular to Earth life,” said Heather Graham at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

“We’re working to transform how to measure biosignatures, or signs of life, in and outside of our solar system,” Graham said. (IANS)

Next Story

This NASA Scientist is so Excited about Mercury Transit. Here’s Why

The tiny planet traveled directly between Earth and the sun on Monday, creating a perfect alignment

0
NASA, Scientist, Mercury
The planet Mercury is seen in silhouette, low center, from Washington, as it transits across the face of the Sun, Nov. 11, 2019. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls). VOA

Stargazers witnessed a rare celestial event on Monday, as Mercury passed directly across the face of the sun.NASA

Mercury, the solar system’s smallest planet and closest to the sun, won’t make the next such transit until 2032.

The tiny planet traveled directly between Earth and the sun on Monday, creating a perfect alignment.

The best views of the event took place in North and South America, while viewers in Europe and Africa were able to see part of Mercury’s passage.

NASA, Scientist, Mercury
Mercury, the solar system’s smallest planet and closest to the sun, won’t make the next such transit until 2032. Pixabay

Stargazers had to use solar-filtered binoculars and telescopes to spot Mercury, which appeared as a small black dot on the face of the sun.

Also Read- Anil Kapoor: I Need To Learn How To Go Easy On Myself

For those who could not see the event directly, the U.S. Space agency, NASA, live-streamed images of the celestial transit, which took about five and a half hours. (VOA)