According to foreign media reports, if Mars probe can find signs of life on the red planet, it is likely to be compounds detected in the soil. Compared with the existing technology, a newly designed device can help achieve this better. In previous missions to Mars, probes usually used a combination of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (cg-ms) to analyze soil samples. < / P > < p > however, according to Caltech scientists, this method may not be able to detect substances such as organic acids – especially if the sample also contains salts, minerals or water. < / P > < p > the researchers said that a better way would be to use microchip electrophoresis (me) to separate soil compounds and then use laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) to detect the target substances. However, since the installation system is not fully automated, it can not be installed into the robot detector yet. < p > < p > the California Institute of technology, led by Dr. Peter Willis, has developed a portable automatic me-lif instrument powered by a car battery. It consists of two me microchips, one of which is used to pretreat and label soil samples mixed with water, and the other is used to separate compounds in samples. Then, an independent LIF system checks whether these compounds are biologically related. < / P > < p > it is understood that the prototype has been tested on a simulated Mars mission in the Chilean desert where it has successfully detected as low as one billionth of an amino acid in soil samples drilled from multiple geographical locations. Scientists say the sensitivity of the system is three orders of magnitude higher than that of a conventional GC-MS system. Privacy Policy