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Proceedings Paper

Simple techniques for detection of Martian microorganisms
Author(s): Mark R. Sims; Richard E. Cole; W. D. Grant; A. A. Mills; K. Powell; R. W. Ruffles
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Paper Abstract

Techniques for searching for life on Mars will be explored. Work on earth has shown that permafrost and evaporites contain large amounts of bacteria--when this is combined with knowledge of micro-organism hibernation this leads to obvious places in which to search for both extinct and extant life. Great emphasis has been placed on complicated experiments that can only be used at limited locations and in very limited numbers to search for life on Mars, but simple low volume experiments measuring pH, opacity and impedance/conductance could be developed. These would be used to identify potential areas of interest or samples of interest, as well as elucidate Martian geochemistry. The concepts behind these will be explored and examined. The development challenges and Earth based control experiments required will also be outlined. It should be possible to develop relatively cheap experiments that can be used to obtain and sample subsurface materials from a range of locations on Mars.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 July 1997
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 3111, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for the Investigation of Extraterrestrial Microorganisms, (11 July 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.278770
Show Author Affiliations
Mark R. Sims, Univ. of Leicester (United Kingdom)
Richard E. Cole, Univ. of Leicester (United Kingdom)
W. D. Grant, Univ. of Leicester (United Kingdom)
A. A. Mills, Univ. of Leicester (United Kingdom)
K. Powell, Defence Research Agency (United Kingdom)
R. W. Ruffles, Defence Research Agency (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3111:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for the Investigation of Extraterrestrial Microorganisms
Richard B. Hoover, Editor(s)

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