HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
NASA develops a 'nugget' to search for life in space

Astrobiologists, who search for evidence of life on other planets, may find a proposed Neutron/Gamma ray Geologic Tomography (NUGGET) instrument to be one of the most useful tools in their toolbelt.

As conceived by scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Md., NUGGET would be able to generate three-dimensional images of fossils embedded in an outcrop of rock or beneath the soil of Mars or another planet. Tomography uses radiation or sound waves to look inside objects. NUGGET could help determine if primitive forms of life took root on Mars when the planet was awash in water eons ago.

Similar to seismic tomography used by the oil industry to locate oil reserves beneath Earth's surface, NUGGET would look instead for evidence of primitive algae and bacteria that fossilized along the edges of extinct rivers or oceans. As on Earth, these remains could lie just a few centimeters beneath the surface, compressed between layers of silt. If a mechanical rover that explores planet surfaces were equipped with an instrument like NUGGET -- capable of peering beneath the surface -- then it might be able to reveal evidence of life beyond Earth.

"This is a brand new idea," said Sam Floyd, the principal investigator on the project, funded this year by Goddard's Director's Discretionary Fund. If developed, NUGGET would be able to investigate important biological indicators of life, and quickly and precisely identify areas where scientists might want to take samples of soil or conduct more intensive studies. "It would allow us to do a much faster survey of an area," Floyd said.

The proposed instrument, which could be carried on a rover or a robot lander, is made up of three fundamentally distinct technologies -- a neutron generator, a neutron lens, and a gamma-ray detector.

At the heart of NUGGET is a three-dimensional scanning instrument that beams neutrons into a rock or other object under study. When the nucleus
'"/>

Contact: Rob Gutro
Robert.J.Gutro.1@gsfc.nasa.gov
301-286-4044
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
27-Jul-2005


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. N.C. A&T food scientist develops process for allergen-free peanuts
2. MIT develops nanoparticles to battle cancer
3. UC develops new approach to Web-based drug withdrawal warnings
4. Engineer ramps up protein production, develops versatile viral spheres
5. Hopkins develops online tool to aid research on certain orphan diseases
6. U of I scientist develops enzyme inhibitor that may slow cancer growth
7. West develops taste for primates
8. OHSU researcher develops first animal model to treat devasting head and neck cancers
9. Novel stem cell technology develops a new cell for repairing spinal cord injuries
10. Interdisciplinary team develops guidelines for treating severely injured patients
11. Georgia Tech develops technology for more compact, inexpensive spectrometers

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: NASA develops nugget search for life space

(Date:8/21/2014)... of scientists including researchers from the University of Georgia recently ... canolain the journal Science . Their discovery paves the ... widely in farming and industry. , Canola is grown ... winter crop is increasingly cultivated in Georgia. Canola oil used ... saturated fat and rich supply of omega-3 fatty acids, but ...
(Date:8/21/2014)... Despite a significant reduction in smog-producing toxins in ... , A new study shows that while the ... of the toxins that contribute to smog, the ... ozone air pollution., Smog, which can cause or ... chronic bronchitis, is produced by a set of ...
(Date:8/21/2014)... Ind. -- A new study of American singles ... men have the highest orgasm rates. On average, ... with their sexual orientation making little difference. For ... average, women experience orgasm 62.9 percent of the ... and this pattern varies with women,s sexual orientation, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Canola genome sequence reveals evolutionary 'love triangle' 2Despite a significant reduction in smog-producing toxins, the Greater Toronto Area still violates Canada's standards for ozone air pollution 2Orgasm rates for single women less predictable than men's, vary by sexual orientation 2Orgasm rates for single women less predictable than men's, vary by sexual orientation 3Orgasm rates for single women less predictable than men's, vary by sexual orientation 4
(Date:8/21/2014)... LYNBROOK, N.Y. , Aug. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ ... a biopharmaceutical company developing first in class collagenase-based ... histolyticum or CCH) in the U.S. and XIAPEX ... statistically significant results from a randomized, double-blind Phase ... of cellulite, or edematous fibrosclerotic panniculopathy. The results ...
(Date:8/21/2014)... (PRWEB) August 21, 2014 DNA vaccine ... progress in its development of JRC-LAMP-vax, an innovative and ... pollen. Phase IC studies began this month in Hawaii, ... hay fever. , The Japanese red cedar releases pollen ... in Japan. Mountain Cedar pollen wreaks similar havoc in ...
(Date:8/21/2014)... Finnish-Swedish research group at the Institute for Molecular ... institutet, Stockholm, has developed a novel "man and ... This innovative diagnostic aid was described in ... The method is based on computer vision algorithms ... combined with visualization of only the diagnostically most ...
(Date:8/21/2014)... An international research team including DESY scientists has observed ... The team reports in the journal Science ... lattices inside the nanodroplets. It is the first time ... in larger samples of what is known as superfluid ... exceeded our best expectations," says Andrey Vilesov of the ...
Breaking Biology Technology:BioSpecifics Technologies Corp. Announces Positive Data from Phase 2a Study of CCH for Treatment of Cellulite 2BioSpecifics Technologies Corp. Announces Positive Data from Phase 2a Study of CCH for Treatment of Cellulite 3BioSpecifics Technologies Corp. Announces Positive Data from Phase 2a Study of CCH for Treatment of Cellulite 4BioSpecifics Technologies Corp. Announces Positive Data from Phase 2a Study of CCH for Treatment of Cellulite 5Relief for Allergy Sufferers Finally in Sight: Immunomic Therapeutics Closes in on Treatment for Hay Fever in Japan, U.S. 2Relief for Allergy Sufferers Finally in Sight: Immunomic Therapeutics Closes in on Treatment for Hay Fever in Japan, U.S. 3Relief for Allergy Sufferers Finally in Sight: Immunomic Therapeutics Closes in on Treatment for Hay Fever in Japan, U.S. 4A novel 'man and machine' decision support system makes malaria diagnostics more effective 2Scientists observe quantum vortices in cold helium droplets 2
Cached News: