The new approach is based on technology similar to that used in pregnancy test kits. The so-called immunoassays are embodied in the “Life Marker Chip” (LMC) experiment, which has the potential to detect trace levels of biomarkers in the Martian environment. Biomarkers are molecular fingerprints that indicate if life currently is, or ever was, present on Mars.
The LMC experiment has been proposed for the European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover mission, which is planned for launch in 2013. The LMC experiment is in the development phase and is led by an international consortium with researchers including Andrew Steele, a staff member of Carnegie’s Geophysical Laboratory in the United States, and scientists from the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, and Germany.
For the current mission, the consortium developed a tiny component, measuring only 1.5 inches x 1.6 inches x .5 inch ( 3.8 cm x 4.1 cm x 1.3 cm) and housing over 2000 samples, to test that the key molecular components to be used in the LMC technology can survive the rigors of space.
The experiment was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan as part of the European Space Agency’s BIOPAN-6 experiment platform. The LMC components will experience both weightlessness and the harsh space radiation environment while orbiting the Earth 180 times at an altitude of up to 190 miles (308 km) during the 11.8 day mission.
The BIOPAN-6 platform is mounted on the outside of an un-manned Russian FOTON spacecraft. Once in space the BIOPAN-6 platform will open to expose its contents directly to the space environment, testing both their resistance to space radiation and the space vacuum, before closing and returning to Earth on September 25th. The LMC components will then be taken back to laboratories in the United Kingdom and the United States to analyze the effect of the space flight.
The lead members of the consortium involved in the current mission are Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) (Germany), Cranfield University (UK), Carnegie Institution of Washington (USA) and University of Leicester (UK).
Dr. Andrew Steele from the Carnegie Institution of Washington (USA) and one of the initial experiment proposers said, “in the USA we are currently flying related technology and components within the protected environment of the International Space Station (ISS) but this will be the first time that these types of materials will have flown unprotected in space in a manner similar to a flight to Mars.”
Dr. Lutz Richter of DLR (Germany) and the principal investigator for the current experiment said, “This experiment is the culmination of a number of years of hard work and ground based tests to prove the viability of the LMC technology.”
Dr. David Cullen, from Cranfield University (UK) and who leads the scientific input into the current experiment, said, “this will be our first space experiment to demonstrate our belief that immunoassay technology will have an important future role in space exploration and the search for life elsewhere in the Solar System.”
Dr. Mark Sims from the University of Leicester (UK) and who heads the overall LMC project said, “this mission will be an important stepping stone in our ultimate goal of putting a LMC experiment on the surface of Mars and using it to search for evidence of Life.”
Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences