Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rocks could reveal secrets of life on Earth – and Mars

09.10.2003


A new UK project could help detect evidence for life on Mars, as well as improve our understanding of how it evolved on Earth.



The aim is to develop a technique that can identify biomolecules in water that have been trapped in rocks for millions to billions of years.

As well as analysing samples from Earth, the proposed technique could be used to obtain important information from water sealed within rock samples brought back from Mars, for example. The team will also consider how the technique could be miniaturised for incorporation into spacecraft which travel to other planets.


The three-year initiative will be carried out by geologists and bioengineers at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Glasgow, with funding from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The research will explore significant technological challenges at the interface between the physical sciences and engineering. These include microfluidic methods for sample pre-concentration (ie the extraction and handling of exceptionally small amounts of fluid), single molecule detection technologies to locate very small amounts of biomaterials and the elimination of contaminants.

The project is highly innovative, attempting to access a source of biomolecules that has not been tapped before. Analysis of material dating from the time before the Earth’s fossil record became extensive is a major project aim. This could significantly enhance our knowledge of the development of life on Earth.

The initiative is being led by Dr John Parnell of the University of Aberdeen’s Geology and Petroleum Geology Department, in collaboration with Professor Jonathan Cooper of the University of Glasgow’s Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering. Dr. Parnell says: “If the technology proves successful, it will enable us to take advantage of a new source of information about the history of life on Earth, and potentially on other planets too”.

Jane Reck | alfa
Further information:
http://www.epsrc.ac.uk

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland
15.11.2018 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

nachricht The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs
14.11.2018 | Uppsala University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA keeps watch over space explosions

16.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

16.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

How the gut ‘talks’ to brown fat

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>