"Strategies of life detection": Summary and outlook

Oliver Botta*, Jeffrey L. Bada, Javier Gomez-Elvira, Emmanuelle Javaux, Franck Selsis, Roger Summons

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    The search for extraterrestrial life requires a mixed approach with regard to mission scenarios and detection methods, primarily because of the large distances and travel times for planetary probes to the outer solar system. For in-situ life detection space missions, the instrument that is best suited to distinguish between abiotic and biogenic organic molecules is a chromatograph coupled to a mass spectrometer. The choice for in-situ instruments is mainly directed by their potential for miniaturization. For the future MSL and ExoMars missions, two instruments, Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) and UREY, are under development that will continue the search for organic carbon on Mars. Both of these instruments are required to have sensitivity to detect the meteoritic component in the Martian surface, provided that the rover can access material that was not subjected to oxidation in the near-surface environment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)371-380
    Number of pages10
    JournalSpace Science Reviews
    Issue number1-4
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


    • Biosignatures
    • Exploration
    • In-situ measurements
    • Meteorites
    • Organic chemistry
    • Solar system
    • Spectroscopy


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