Saturday , May 8 2021

NASA grants USD 7 million for new life detection



New York: NASA has granted nearly $ 7 million to a new interdisciplinary project that detects new, non-Earth life on Mars, Jupiter and the moons of Saturn.

The Agnostic Biosocial Laboratory (LAB) will be the basis for characterizing potential biosignals or signs of life, a statement late on Sunday said.

Initial LAB research focuses on four aspects of life that do not assume any particular biochemistry, and they will depart from these concepts to create a framework for looking for life "as we do not know it".

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

Life indicators have been chosen because they can be captured in frames that do not avoid observing specific life forms on Earth and are methods that can be used in aerial missions – we read in a statement.

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

"Our goal is to go beyond what we now understand and develop ways to find life forms that we can not imagine," said lead researcher Sarah Stewart Johnson of Georgetown University.

The research team will lay the foundations for characterizing potential biosignals that do not require specific molecular frameworks, as well as tools for their detection and strategies for interpretation.

"Detecting life in an agnostic way means not using the characteristics of life on Earth," said Heather Graham of the Goddard Space Flight Center at NASA in Greenbelt, Maryland.

"We are working on transforming the way we measure biosignals or signs of life in our solar system and beyond," Graham said.


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