The name AstroBioLab (ABL) refers to the idea of an innovative and highly automated sample analysis laboratory for astrobiological investigations. The ABL should not only be able to detect diverse biosignatures in samples taken from the subglacial habitats, but could also provide unequivocal evidence of life.
Our focus in the TRIPLE-project is on a possible ABL use during a field test mission in Antarctica. The ABL offers the opportunity to analyse freshly collected samples directly in the field which avoids transportation damages and potential changes of the samples. Due to the small construction space in the melting probe, the ABL cannot be directly integrated into the melting probe during the field test in Antarctica. Therefore, the ABL remains on the ice surface as part of the ground station.
The ABL consists of different individual analytical instruments. For the field test, portable and robust devices using fast analysis methods are particularly suitable, which, as far as possible, should not require time-consuming sample preparation.
Instruments that can be used for sample analysis
- (Fluorescence) microscope (including camera)
- Various absorbance-, fluorescence- (UV/Vis/IR) or Raman- spectrometric systems
- Portable mass spectrometer
- Portable DNA/RNA sequencing device (equipped with automated sample preparation module)