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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Holographic Microbes

Holographic Microbes

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, July 21, 2017/Categories: natural history, photography, space science, art and design, environment, adventure

                                Water Geysers on Saturn's Moon Enceladus (credit: JPL/NASA)

What would be the most direct way to determine if exo-biology exists in our solar system? The use of a 'rapid assessment', where a simple screen allows a quick determination of presence or absence, could be the best approach. But how to do that from millions of miles distant?

The super-clever researchers at CalTech believe it could be possible to initially make a holographic survey of a moon or planet without having to send a rover to the surface. They propose to fly an orbiter through water geyser plumes being ejected from icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn collecting water samples with each pass. The probe would be equiped with a especially designed digital holographic microscope, that uses lasers to record 3D images, to visualize simple exobiology. The probe could visit Enceladus (Saturn) or Europa (Jupiter) to collect water samples and search for life. The inventor of the new microscope explains:

Let's get those new microscopes launched to see if anything is living in those distant ponds!



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