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On The Job: A Nixon Man
On The Job: The Seafarer
Making Waves
Going Green, Green, Greener
Triton Life on Mars
Bye-Bye Wall Warts
Still Happening
Mirror Mirror
In Vino Veritas
Magnetic Mission
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Features May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2
   

Triton Life on Mars

 
     

A new device that fits in the palm of one’s hand will soon be searching for life on Mars.

The state-of-the-art Urey Instrument, developed by Jeffrey Bada, a professor of marine chemistry at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, is preparing for a mission to Mars in 2013. Named after the late Nobel Laureate and UC San Diego scholar Harold C. Urey, the Urey Mars Organic and Oxidant Detector will perform the first search for trace levels of organic molecules, the integral components of life.

Weighing about 60 pounds, the compact instrument will heat spoon-sized amounts of Martian soil, condense the released molecules on a cold trap and analyze them.

“ Designing this type of instrument to search for life on another planet is extremely challenging,” says Bada.

So, to prepare for the mission, Bada and his research team studied remote isolated regions on Earth, such as Antarctica and the Atacama Desert in Chile.

Contributors to Making Waves: Kim Edwards, Tiffany Fox, Raymond Hardie, Pat JaCoby, Annie Reisewitz

 

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