New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: At a time when the discovery of a potentially biogenic chemical in the clouds of Venus has renewed interest of possible life on the planet, a team of researchers have developed a fully automated microchip electrophoresis analyzer that can help detect organic biosignatures in extraterrestrial soil.
The device can be incorporated in the rovers sent to the other planets in our solar system and can help detect organic biosignatures. This technique, however, has some limitations for the analysis of certain molecules, such as organic acids, especially when water, minerals or salts are also in the sample, said the study that appeared in journal Analytical Chemistry, as per a report by IANS.
Current instruments are only partially automated, which wouldn’t work for interplanetary missions. What was needed was a portable, battery-powered instrument that could accept a sample and perform labelling, separation and detection of organic molecules, all in a fully automated fashion.
The new device lays foundation for developing ME-LIF instruments for missions seeking signs of life beyond Earth, the researchers said, though added that more work is needed to ready the instrument for spaceflight and extraterrestrial conditions.
The development has come days after an international team of astronomers claimed to have found traces of phosphine, a rare molecule, in the atmosphere of Venus. On Earth, the phosphine gas is only made industrially or by microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments.
The study, published in a new paper in the journal Nature Astronomy, said that for decades high clouds in Venus could offer a home for microbes which can tolerate the very high acidity in the planet’s atmosphere. The astronomers said that the detection of the phosphine gas could point towards an extra-terrestrial aerial life.
The study has led NASA plan two space missions to determine whether or not that harbours life.
Extraterrestrial life, Venus, Biosignature, Earth
World news – CA – Researchers develop device that may help detect signs of extraterrestrial life