Caister Academic Press

CIMB Abstract

Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. (2020) 38: 53-74.

Detection of Organic Matter and Biosignatures in Space Missions

Zita Martins

Carbon-based compounds are widespread throughout the Universe, including abiotic molecules that are the components of the life as we know it. This article reviews the space missions that have aimed to detect organic matter and biosignatures in planetary bodies of our solar system. While to date there was only one life-detection space mission, i.e., the Viking mission to Mars, several past and present space missions have searched for organic matter, paving the way for the future detection of signatures of extra-terrestrial life. This review also reports on the in-situ analysis of organic matter and sample-return missions from primitive bodies, i.e. comets and asteroids, providing crucial information on the conditions of the early solar system as well as on the building blocks of life delivered to the primitive Earth.

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