Monday, July 6, 2020
Home Science & Technology New test by NASA Scientists to detect signs of Life on Exoplanets

New test by NASA Scientists to detect signs of Life on Exoplanets

The test uses a liquid-based technique known as capillary electrophoresis to separate a mixture of organic molecules into its components

U.S.A, Jan 30, 2017: NASA scientists have developed a new chemical assay that could aid the search for life on exoplanets by identifying the presence of amino acids, the compounds that make up proteins and are the building blocks of life.

The test uses a liquid-based technique known as capillary electrophoresis to separate a mixture of organic molecules into its components.

It was designed by researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in the US specifically to analyse for amino acids, the structural building blocks of all life on Earth.

NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.

The method is 10,000 times more sensitive than current methods employed by spacecraft like NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover, according to researchers.

 

One of the key advantages of the new way of using capillary electrophoresis is that the process is relatively simple and easy to automate for liquid samples expected on ocean world missions.

 

It involves combining a liquid sample with a liquid reagent, followed by chemical analysis under conditions determined by the team.

 

By shining a laser across the mixture – a process known as laser-induced fluorescence detection – specific molecules can be observed moving at different speeds. They get separated based on how quickly they respond to electric fields.

 

While capillary electrophoresis has been around since the early 1980s, this is the first time it has been tailored specifically to detect extraterrestrial life on an ocean world, said Jessica Creamer, a postdoctoral scholar at JPL.

 

“Our method improves on previous attempts by increasing the number of amino acids that can be detected in a single run,” Creamer said.

 

“Additionally, it allows us to detect these amino acids at very low concentrations, even in highly salty samples, with a very simple ‘mix and analyse’ process,” she said.

 

The researchers used the technique to analyse amino acids present in the salt-rich waters of Mono Lake in California.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

The lake’s exceptionally high alkaline content makes it a challenging habitat for life, and an excellent stand-in for salty waters believed to be on Mars, or the ocean worlds of Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa.

 

The researchers were able to simultaneously analyse 17 different amino acids, which they are calling “the Signature 17 standard.” These amino acids were chosen for study because they are the most commonly found on Earth or elsewhere.

 

“Using our method, we are able to tell the difference between amino acids that come from non-living sources like meteorites versus amino acids that come from living organisms,” said the project’s principal investigator, Peter Willis of JPL.

 

The study was published in the journal Analytical Chemistry. (IANS)

STAY CONNECTED

18,995FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,780FollowersFollow

Most Popular

Infant Sleep issues Linked To Mental Health Problems in Adults

Researchers have found that sleeping problems in early childhood may be linked to the development of certain mental health disorders in adolescence. The study, published...

10,000 Bed Sardar Patel Covid-19 Centre To set up at Delhi

The 10,000-bed Sardar Patel Covid-19 Care Centre and Hospital, inaugurated here on Sunday by Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal, which will serve as a major...

UP Government to Set World Record in Tree Plantation Drive

The Yogi Adityanath government is all set to set a new world record by planting 25 crore trees on Sunday in a massive plantation...

Queer Representation in Bollywood

Soon, Akshay Kumar will be seen essaying the role of a transgender in "Laxmmi Bomb". Sonam Kapoor has explored the complexities of being a...

WHO Stops Hydroxychloroquine, HIV drugs in Covid-19 trials

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday that it was discontinuing its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir...

Coronavirus Cases Sets Record Daily Jump : WHO

The world saw a record 24-hour increase in the number of coronavirus cases Saturday — 212,326, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported. The United States,...

India Confident of Covid Vaccine, Trial Stage Marks ‘Beginning of the End’

As India races to bring a vaccine for Covid-19 by mid August, the government on Sunday said that it is entering the human trial...

Malaika Arora Shares Home Remedy to Boost Immunity

Dancing diva Malaika Arora has shared a "make in India" home remedy to boost immunity. Some people have started stepping out for work, but relaxed...

Recent Comments