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A ‘Chemical Laptop’ to search for Life outside Earth

In today’s advanced world, researchers started working on different purpose aspects which deliver the advanced technology. The Chemical Laptop is such an advanced technology which can be used to search for life beyond Earth.

A miniaturized laboratory called ‘Chemical Laptop’ has been developed by the scientists. It can be used to search for signs of life beyond Earth. It is the size of a regular laptop. It is much thicker so as to make room for the chemical analysis components inside. It is being developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. It is a miniaturized laboratory which analyzes the samples for the materials. It would be the most sensitive device of its kind to be sent out of Earth. It would be the first to be able to identify both amino acids and fatty acids. The Chemical Laptop will be able to tell the difference between them.

nasa-chemical-laptop

How does it work?

A Chemical Laptop which is powered with battery needs a liquid to analyze. It would be difficult to obtain on a planet such as Mars. A water sample is fed into the Chemical Laptop. Then the device starts preparing the sample. It is obtained by mixing it with the fluorescent dye. It attaches the dye to the amino acids or fatty acids.

The microchip consists of a ‘Separation Channel’ inside it which has the chemical additives that mix with the sample. These additives are used to alter the relative amount of time. The left and right-handed amino acids are placed in the separation channel. This allows the scientists to determine the factors of amino acids in the sample.

Chemical Laptop

The main purpose of Chemical Laptop

The Chemical Laptop looks for the amino acids which come in two types: Left-handed and right-handed. They are the mirror images of each other but with the same components. The left and right-handed versions are equal in size and charge. This makes the analysis of the amino acids more challenging.

Scientists are looking for the lengths of the acids in the carbon chain. It gives the indication of what the organisms are or were present. Thus, the laptop is set to identify the fatty acids.

 

Future uses

Researchers did a field test at Mars Yard, where the Chemical Laptop has been placed on a test rover. In this test, the laptop analyzed a sample of ‘green rust’. It is a mineral which absorbs the organic molecules in the layers. They are  significant in the origin of life.

The Chemical Laptop technology consists of different applications for Earth. It can be used for environmental monitoring which analyzes the samples directly in the field. The Chemical Laptop can be used for a medicinal purpose which includes the testing of drugs.

 

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