From the NASA Ames Lab in the heart of Silicon Valley
NASA-funded researchers are refining a tool that could not only check for the faintest traces of life’s molecular building blocks on Mars, but could also determine whether they have been produced by anything alive.
The instrument, called Urey: Mars Organic and Oxidant Detector, has already shown its capabilities in one of the most barren climes on Earth, the Atacama Desert in Chile. The European Space Agency has chosen this tool from the United States as part of the science payload for the ExoMars rover planned for launch in 2013. Last month, NASA selected Urey for an instrument-development investment of $750,000.
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