Search for ET to start on Earth

January 7, 2005

Cardiff University researchers have designed and manufactured a "life detector" that will be used by Nasa scientists this year in their search for proof that extraterrestrial life exists.

A prototype of the life-detection system, known as Medusa, is being assembled for Nasa at Oregon State University. It will be tested in the summer when small submarines will carry it to some of the most extreme undersea environments on Earth, where conditions are thought to be similar to those that might be found beneath a sea on Europa, one of Jupiter's moons.

If successful, the system could be used in space exploration missions.

Michael Flynn, a scientist at Nasa's Ames Research Centre in California, explained: "Our goal is to find Earth life that exists in environments that are similar to conditions that we know exist on other planetary bodies.

Identification of such life forms would help to build the case that extraterrestrial life could exist in our solar system."

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