Detecting life and biology-related parameters on Mars

Gilbert V. Levin, Joseph D. Miller, Patricia A. Straat, Robert A. Lodder, Richard B. Hoover

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


An integrated, miniaturized, low-power instrument capable of the detection and early characterization of microbial life in the soil of Mars is proposed. Based on the detection and monitoring of ongoing metabolism as being the surest evidence for extant life, the experiments will probe for chirality in metabolism, for circadian rhythmicity, and for photosynthesis. However, the instrument package will also be able to detect biosignatures and a variety of other physical and chemical parameters of the Martian surface that have significance for life. These include the presence and the physical state of water, the existence of an oxidant, the pH and the penetrability of the soil. Using the legacy of the 1976 Viking Labeled Release (LR) life detection experiment in conjunction with state-of-the-art laser diode spectral analysis, the instrument can be flown stand-alone, with or without a rover, or as part of a Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)-type mission. Sterility for experiment integrity and for planetary protection is provided.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2007 IEEE Aerospace Conference Digest
StatePublished - 2007
Event2007 IEEE Aerospace Conference - Big Sky, MT, United States
Duration: Mar 3 2007Mar 10 2007

Publication series

NameIEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)1095-323X


Conference2007 IEEE Aerospace Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBig Sky, MT


  • Chiral metabolism
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Laser diode analyses
  • Life detection experiments
  • Life on Mars
  • Mars soil properties
  • Photosynthesis
  • Robotic instruments
  • SSSI
  • Spacecraft sterilization
  • Viking LR experiment
  • Water on Mars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Detecting life and biology-related parameters on Mars'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this