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Enabling the search for life in our solar system with 3D microscopy techniques

Presentation #233.04 in the session Technology, Policy, and the Search for Life.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Enabling the search for life in our solar system with 3D microscopy techniques

The existence of life beyond the Earth can be investigated either spectroscopically, on exoplanets around nearby stars, or in situ, by sending probes to our own solar system’s planets, moons and asteroids. In the latter case, in situ microscopic imaging of potential microbes is a promising possibility. Potential environments can range from ices and liquid water on outer solar system moons and asteroids, to shielded regolith and caves on Mars, to aerosols in the clouds of Venus. We will describe 3D microscopy techniques applicable to a variety of environments, including digital holographic microscopy and light-field fluorescence microscopy, that we have been developing to enable the search for cellular life in its native environment on such worlds. Our microscope systems have already been successfully deployed to a number of remote terrestrial sites.

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