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:


(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their ... , The analysts forecast the global ... of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients ... a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a ... the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key ... body mass index, and, when they opt in, share ... visit to a local retail location at no cost. ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by Type ... Others), Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, Home ... Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... expected to reach USD 26.76 Billion by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016  Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... healthier lives through the development of innovative products and ... the United States denied its petition ... claims of Sequenom,s U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 (",540 Patent") ... established by the Supreme Court,s Mayo Collaborative Services v. ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016  Liquid Biotech ... funding of a Sponsored Research Agreement with The ... cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  The funding will ... levels correlate with clinical outcomes in cancer patients ... will then be employed to support the design ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in ... peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new article on ... biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 A person commits a crime, and ... to track the criminal down. An outbreak of ... Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a ... of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: