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:2/6/2017)... 6, 2017 According to Acuity Market ... border authorities to continue to embrace biometric and ... 2143 Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates and 1436 ... more than 163 ports of entry across the ... achieving a combined CAGR of 37%. APC Kiosks ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... A new independent identity strategy consultancy firm announces its ... to fill a critical niche in technical and policy ... Mark Crego and Janice Kephart together ... that span federal governments, the 9/11 Commission, private industry, ... has a common theme born from a shared passion ...
(Date:2/2/2017)... Feb. 2, 2017  EyeLock LLC, a market leader ... white paper " What You Should Know About Biometrics ... ensuring user authenticity is a growing concern. In traditional ... users. However, traditional authentication schemes such as username/password suffer ... Biometric authentication offers an elegant solution to the problem ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... Brain ... to begin marketing the SPEAC® System, the Brain Sentinel® Seizure Monitoring and Alerting ... in healthcare facilities during periods of rest. A lightweight, non-invasive monitor is placed ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... David Nolte, PhD accepted ... at Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, Indiana. , The top ... contributions to, and success with, commercializing discoveries from Purdue research. “This award is ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... NC (PRWEB) , ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... to announce a new partnership with Compass Research . GGI's mission is to ... a vaccine to a child in need in honor of each clinical trial volunteer. ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... 2017 Aviva Systems Biology Corporation (ASB) ... of GenWay Biotech Incorporated, a protein solutions and ... offering for both the research and diagnostic markets. ... enhance capabilities for both entities. GenWay,s 18 years of ... nicely complement ASB,s objective to become a leading ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: