Wisconsin Scientists Seek Aliens by Way of Dan Brown

By Rich Steeves February 13, 2013

It’s not as well known as his Robert Langdon books (like The Da Vinci Code), but Dan Brown once wrote a novel about scientists that may or may not have found evidence of alien life in a meteorite found buried in the Arctic Circle. And now, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are taking a page from Deception Point and looking earthward for evidence of alien life, rather than looking to the stars.

 A group of 25 scientists from Wisconsin are part of a consortium that is funded by NASA. The group is tasked with studying rocks that are billions of years old, looking for information that might help guide the search for life on Mars and elsewhere. The evidence they seek is called “biosignatures,” footprints of biological activity like certain elements or isotopes that would indicate the presence of ancient life. Scientists also hope to find single-celled organisms in the samples.

Even if the project does not uncover evidence of extraterrestrial life, it is helping scientists learn more about our own planet. The team has uncovered Earth microbes that existed billions of years ago, before oxygen was present in the atmosphere. These tiny life forms relied more on iron than on sunlight!

The research will be fed to the Curiosity rover, now studying the surface of Mars, and will be used to prepare future Mars missions as well.

Even if there aren’t little green men up there, this hunt for alien life will help us better understand how life evolves and when we are ready to explore beyond the solar system, it will give us valuable information as to how to look for traces of life on worlds far distant from our own. We will, to echo the words of a famous TV show, seek out new life… and perhaps even new civilizations…

Edited by Carlos Olivera

TechZone360 Web Editor

Related Articles

Hurdles for Operators Deploying a Multi-Point Wireless Backhaul System

By: Greg Friesen    10/26/2016

Multi-point wireless systems offer much promise for backhaul. An operator can deploy a single central unit (CU) and the connect end sites as they are …

Read More

Free Public Wi-Fi: Is it a Trick or a Treat?

By: Special Guest    10/26/2016

Public Wi-Fi allows us to stay connected wherever we go. While the convenience drives us to connect more often, by no means does that indicate we're i…

Read More

Will the Next Generation of Computers be Crowdsourced? Maybe

By: Doug Mohney    10/25/2016

If you have any doubts that the world of PC design has stagnated - looking at you Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and whoever else is left standing this week…

Read More

The Cybersecurity Race to Secure the Internet of Things

By: Doug Mohney    10/25/2016

Last week's wave of worldwide DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks through the use of unsecured Internet of Things (IoT) devices is both distu…

Read More

AT&T Announces Plans to Buy Time Warner

By: Paula Bernier    10/24/2016

AT&T over the weekend revealed plans to purchase Time Warner Inc. in a deal valued at more than $85 billion, driving down both of their stocks and dra…

Read More