Scientists from NASA have developed a rover able to detect extraterrestrial life on Mars. This robot is meant to sniff around and detect any sign of life. On November 1st, a team of scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland asserted that their new purpose is to use a particular sensor for detecting life on Mars and any other planets in our solar system.
According to the Defense Department’s Joint Biological Standoff Detection System from the US military technology, this new device will be able to scan the soil and rocks for organic molecules. The rover will analyze if there is any microscopic form of life. NASA has renamed the Rover the Bio-Indicator Lidar Instrument.
Branimir Blagojevic, a technologist at NASA, has argued that NASA has never explored the possibility of using this rover before, especially for analyzing planetary ground. If Mars holds organic traces, they will be detected in the soil by this device. The name of the rover already suggests that it will use a lidar to conduct its mission on the Red Planet.
This spectrometer is used as an active radar. Instead of generating radio waves, the lidar produces laser flashes. Lidar represents an acronym for Light Detection and Ranging. To detect extraterrestrial life, the rover will provide a signal prone to render a target and then rejoin the receiver. Thus, the device will perceive what kind of object is, relying on the trajectory of the signal.
The cornerstone for this type of device has appeared back in the 1960s or 1970s. This technology has longed evolved since then. What is more, a lot of car makers try to develop ways of using lidar to detect and avoid obstacles for autonomous vehicles. In the past, NASA had also used this source to update airplanes which were sent to analyze the chemical composition of our planet’s atmosphere.
This system meant to observe and signal extraterrestrial life emits laser pulses. The beams of light cannot be seen, but they are significant when bouncing off particles. When the UV beams reach a molecule, they stimulate the electrons of that molecule.
Specialists have claimed that this kind of device is not the first sensor device to be used on the Red Planet. NASA’s Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter was used for four years to map the planet.
Image source: flickr