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Fluorescence Spectroscopy to Detect Complex Biomolecules in Plumes of the Outer Solar System: a fast, low-cost, flyby mission to search for biomarkers

Whitepaper #343 submitted to the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032. Topics: life and prebiotic organics; ocean worlds

Published onMar 18, 2021
Fluorescence Spectroscopy to Detect Complex Biomolecules in Plumes of the Outer Solar System: a fast, low-cost, flyby mission to search for biomarkers

We propose a new type of life detection mission for the outer Solar System — a small spacecraft with a UV laser and fluorescence spectrometer that could detect the signal of aromatic amino acids via a fast flyby of Enceladus’ plume. The mission length and cost are much less than current concepts for biomarker detection missions to Enceladus.


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