Detection of Martian life found amino acids in the dead of the desert

14.04.2004

14.04.2004


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A team of scientists from several universities and laboratories in the USA, headed by Richard Mathis (Richard Mathies) — Professor of Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) built a "Martian organics analyzer" (MOA).

It will install on board the Mars Science Laboratory of the U.S. or European probe ExoMars, and, perhaps, on both ships at once. They will start in 2009.

MOA uses a number of original methods of biochemical analysis, used in the program of decoding the human genome.

The sensitivity of the instrument is a million times greater than the life of the analyzer, which stood in 1970 on the unit "Viking".

One of the elements of the device, identifying amino acids in soil, vanishing discovered microscopic amounts of organic matter on the tests in the Atacama Desert (Chile) — one of the "dead" places on Earth.

In addition to "ingress" of amino acids, the MOA has a unique instrument that determines the chirality of organic molecules. It is this test can definitely say, the molecules are found the remains of Martian life, or not.

The fact that all the amino acids may have two mirror embodiment — the right-and levorotatory type. Proteins of all life on Earth is made up of the "left" of amino acids.

It allows you to twist them the same "building blocks of life" to make chains. In theory, life is possible and on the basis of the "right" of amino acids. But either way, the direction of rotation of living molecules should only be one.

However, there are natural physical (not biological) processes leading to the formation of amino acids (they are even found in meteorites), but such processes are always create a mixture of an equal number of "right" and "left" of organic molecules.

13.04.2004

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