A New Method and Mass-Spectrometric Instrument for Extraterrestrial Microbial Life Detection Using the Elemental Composition Analyses of Martian Regolith and Permafrost/Ice

G G ManagadzeR Kh Khamizov


We propose a new technique for the detection of microorganisms by elemental composition analyses of a sample extracted from regolith, permafrost, and ice of extraterrestrial bodies. We also describe the design of the ABIMAS instrument, which consists of the onboard time-of-flight laser mass-reflectron (TOF LMR) and the sample preparation unit (SPU) for biomass extraction. This instrument was initially approved to fly on board the ExoMars 2020 lander mission. The instrument can be used to analyze the elemental composition of possible extraterrestrial microbial communities and compare it to that of terrestrial microorganisms. We have conducted numerous laboratory studies to confirm the possibility of biomass identification via the following biomarkers: P/S and Ca/K ratios, and C and N abundances. We underline that only the combination of these factors will allow one to discriminate microbial samples from geological ones. Our technique has been tested experimentally in numerous laboratory trials on cultures of microorganisms and polar permafrost samples as terrestrial analogues for martian polar soils. We discuss various methods of extracting microorganisms and sample preparation. The developed technique can be used to search for ...Continue Reading


Jan 1, 1992·Advances in Space Research : the Official Journal of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR)·D GilichinskyD G Fyordorov-Dayvdov
May 15, 2002·FEMS Microbiology Reviews·Roy D Sleator, Colin Hill
Jan 9, 2004·Applied and Environmental Microbiology·V I MitevaJ E Brenchley
Sep 24, 2004·Astrobiology·V S SoinaGalina I El-Registan
Aug 31, 2007·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Sarah Stewart JohnsonEske Willerslev
Feb 8, 2008·The Journal of Biological Chemistry·Maurice B Burg, Joan D Ferraris
Apr 21, 2010·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Jason P ChinJohn E Hallsworth
Aug 1, 2006·Re/views in Environmental Science and Bio/technology·S FendrihanH Stan-Lotter
Dec 11, 2013·Science·John P GrotzingerMSL Science Team
Jan 1, 2013·Biology·Caitlin KnowltonScott O Rogers
Dec 21, 2014·Applied and Environmental Microbiology·Mark A Lever, Andreas P Teske
Apr 2, 2015·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Jennifer C SternMSL Science Team

Methods Mentioned


Related Concepts

Space (Astronomy)
Mass Spectrometry
Extraterrestrial Life
Analogs & derivatives
Biological Markers
Clinical Trials

Trending Feeds


Coronaviruses encompass a large family of viruses that cause the common cold as well as more serious diseases, such as the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19; formally known as 2019-nCoV). Coronaviruses can spread from animals to humans; symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties; in more severe cases, infection can lead to death. This feed covers recent research on COVID-19.

Evolution of Pluripotency

Pluripotency refers to the ability of a cell to develop into three primary germ cell layers of the embryo. This feed focuses on the mechanisms that underlie the evolution of pluripotency. Here is the latest research.

Lipidomics & Rhinovirus Infection

Lipidomics can be used to examine the lipid species involved with pathogenic conditions, such as viral associated inflammation. Discovered the latest research on Lipidomics & Rhinovirus Infection.

Spatio-Temporal Regulation of DNA Repair

DNA repair is a complex process regulated by several different classes of enzymes, including ligases, endonucleases, and polymerases. This feed focuses on the spatial and temporal regulation that accompanies DNA damage signaling and repair enzymes and processes.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease characterized by unexplained disabling fatigue; the pathology of which is incompletely understood. Discover the latest research on chronic fatigue syndrome here.

Torsion Dystonia

Torsion dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by loss of control of voluntary movements appearing as sustained muscle contractions and/or abnormal postures. Here is the latest research.

Archaeal RNA Polymerase

Archaeal RNA polymerases are most similar to eukaryotic RNA polymerase II but require the support of only two archaeal general transcription factors, TBP (TATA-box binding protein) and TFB (archaeal homologue of the eukaryotic general transcription factor TFIIB) to initiate basal transcription. Here is the latest research on archaeal RNA polymerases.

Alzheimer's Disease: MS4A

Variants within the membrane-spanning 4-domains subfamily A (MS4A) gene cluster have recently been implicated in Alzheimer's disease in genome-wide association studies. Here is the latest research on Alzheimer's disease and MS4A.

Central Pontine Myelinolysis

Central Pontine Myelinolysis is a neurologic disorder caused most frequently by rapid correction of hyponatremia and is characterized by demyelination that affects the central portion of the base of the pons. Here is the latest research on this disease.