Homochirality as the signature of life: The SETH Cigar

MacDermott, A.J. and Barron, L.D. and Brack, A. and Buhse, T. and Drake, A.F. and Emery, R. and Gottarelli, G. and Greenberg, J. Mayo and Haberle, R. and Hegstrom, R.A. and Hobbs, K. and Kondepudi, D.K. and McKay, C. and Moorbath, S. and Raulin, F. and Sandford, M. and Schwartzman, D.W. and Thiemann, W.H.P. and Tranter, George E. and Zarnecki, John C. (1996) Homochirality as the signature of life: The SETH Cigar. Planetary and Space Science, 44 (11). pp. 1441-1446. ISSN 0032-0633 . (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0032-0633(96)00057-8

Abstract

A characteristic hallmark of life is its homochirality: all biomolecules are usually of one hand, e.g. on Earth life uses only L-amino acids for protein synthesis and not their D mirror images. It is therefore suggested that a search for extra-terrestrial life can be approached as a Search for Extra-Terrestrial Homochirality (SETH). A novel miniaturized space polarimeter, called the SETH Cigar, is described which could be used to detect optical rotation as the homochiral signature of life on other planets. Moving parts are avoided by replacing the normal rotating polarizer by multiple fixed polarizers at different angles as in the eye of the bee. It is believed that homochirality will be found in the subsurface layers on Mars as a relic of extinct life.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: Proceedings Paper; Event title: International Workshop on INTERMARSNET; Event location: Capri, Italy; Event dates: Sep 28-30, 1995
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Faculties > Science Technology and Medical Studies > School of Physical Sciences
Depositing User: F.D. Zabet
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2009 11:41
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2014 15:15
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/18654 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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