Feb 01, 2017 10:51 AM EST
A liquid-based analytical technique called Capillary Electrophoresis paves the way in detecting another form of life present in earth's oceans. NASA researchers are developing and customizing Capillary Electrophoresis which could detect and contrast the presence of amino acids that is present from a non-living organism from that of a living organism.
Amino Acid is the building block of protein that plays an essential role in biologic processes of an organism. According to Tech Times, the new method was already used to identify 17 different amino acids in Mono Lake located in California. Using analytical process, the scientists were able to differentiate the origin of amino acids whether it is from living or non-living creature.
Mono Lake's water is very basic considering its power of hydrogen. Thus, making it an impossible habitat for life, however, it could also reflect on the possibility of testing the salty waters theoretically located in Mars, the Jupiter's moon Europa and the Saturn's moon Enceladus.
As reported by Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the customized capillary electrophoresis is 10,000 times more sensitive as compared to the current methods employed by some spacecraft such as NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover. The principle behind the technique is that it involves the separation of ions based on their electrophoretic mobility under an applied voltage.
Furthermore, according to Jessica Creamer, a postdoctoral scholar at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the method could easily detect amino acid in a single try or even in low concentrations and highly salty specimens. The method could be simply and easily finalized with a 'mix and analyze' process.
The existence of L-amino acid in living organisms has already a great linkage to life while non-living creatures possess both L- amino acid and D- amino acid. An extraterrestrial source for an L-amino acid in oceans could further reflect an extraterrestrial form of life. Enjoy the wisdom and knowledge that science brings; continue visiting Science Times for more updates.
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