Device may find Martians in us all

Mars Life Earth Find

This 1 inch by 1 inch microfluidic chip is portion of the SETG instrument prototype. Tiny channels feed in the samples to be analyzed and control the fluidic circuitry on the chip. Blue light excites fluorescent dyes that aid recognize DNA within 3072 cubic chambers, each about the width of a human hair, or one billionth of a liter in size.

By John Roach

Life as we know it has a typical ancestor— someplace. Is it a Martian? A new gadget under development to fly on a long term mission to Mars to find and sequence bits of genetic substance could provide an answer, in accordance to MIT and Harvard researchers.

"Given what we know about meteorite impacts and transfer of content amongst Earth and Mars, we are hoping that life may in reality exist on Mars and that it may in reality be connected to us," Christopher Carr, a MIT research scientist who is top the project, told me today.

The thought that life originated on Mars goes back prior to the Viking missions of the 1970s, which appeared for indicators of life on the Red World. It acquired a increase in the 1990s with the discovery that microbes could have hitched interplanetary rides on meteorites in between the two planets in the course of an extreme period of time of bombardment in between about 3.5 and 4 billion years ago.

"About a billion tons of rock most likely went in between Earth and Mars, most of that really went in the Mars-to-Earth direction— about a 100-fold greater volume," Carr famous. "So that makes it more likely that if we find a thing on Mars that's related to us that it truly came from Mars to Earth ( via ).