Test campaign of the new reading module of the SOLID instrument

The Center for Astrobiology (CAB, CSIC-INTA) and the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) have carried out tests of the new optical configuration of the SOLID instrument in hydrothermal environments of the Chilean Andes. The campaign has been carried out jointly with NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute (as well as with other centers and institutions) and is part of the NASA collaboration project 'Changing Planetary Environments and the Fingerprints of Life' in which the CAB participates.

This new campaign has consisted of taking samples and performing on-site analyzes of volcanic zones with different hydrothermal evolution status in the Chilean Andes in order to study the degree of preservation and alteration of microbial biomarkers. Likewise, the new optical configuration of the SOLID instrument (Signs Of Life Detector, Detector of signs of life), which is being developed by the Astrobiology Center, has been tested. This new configuration will make the instrument more robust and versatile.

After analyzing samples of drilling dust made in idle geysers of the Tatio (Chilean Andes) with LDChip, this time the new optical configuration of SOLID has been tested. Likewise, Dr. Laura Sánchez García, CAB researcher, took different surface samples and from samples taken from geysers in different stages of evolution (from active to extinct) to analyze the biomarker profile in the laboratory, both lipid and protein, which can offer information on their state of preservation and / or transformation over time and the physico-chemical conditions. & nbsp;



Figure: The photograph shows one of the moments of field work (at 4,500 meters above sea level) and one of the images obtained in which fluorescent points are observed that reflect the presence of markers microorganisms such as Acidithiobacillus caldus. © V. Parro (CAB)

 

Fuente: UCC-CAB

 

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