NASA experiment searches for amino acids in investigation into possible life on Mars

A discovery of amino acids on the planet could indicate signs of past Martian life that is now extinct.

According to a NASA laboratory experiment from last month, future research into the possibility of extinct life on Mars will necessitate the use of deep-drilling rovers to look for amino acid residues

Because they are commonly employed by terrestrial life as a component to create proteins

specific amino acids found on the planet would suggest the potential existence of ancient Martian life, according to NASA.

The peer-reviewed study warned that any amino acids on Mars could be "degraded by exposure to cosmic rays that can penetrate to a depth of a few metres."

The study also found that because ionising radiation from space would quickly damage amino acids, rovers like the Mars Curiosity rover would need to burrow 2 feet  beneath Mars

High-energy particles called cosmic rays are produced by exploding stars and solar flares.

The experiment

Currently, scientists are attempting to mimic Martian soil by combining it with amino acids

To replicate the quantity of "cosmic-ray dosages up to that received from around 80 million years of exposure in the Martian surface rocks

samples of amino acids in silica were subjected to gamma radiation blasts.

According to Alexander Pavlov, a worker at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, "recent Mars rover missions dig down to around two inches

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