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Detection of Amino Acids and Nucleotide bases

  1. Nov 13, 2011 #1
    1. I need to detect amino acids and nucleotide bases that MAY be present in small quantities on Titan in the Hydrocarbon seas

    2. Relevant equations

    Not required this is for a mission analysis class

    3. The attempt at a solution

    So I'm working on a project for my fourth year class in Space Mission Design and Analysis. My project is an astrobiology mission to Titan, Saturn's sixth moon, which is only slightly smaller than Mars with a atmosphere of Nitrogen of comparable density and pressure to Earth. Part of my project is a rover that will be sampling the hydrocarbon seas on the surface.

    My question is in regards to the detection of amino acids and nucleotide bases in the samples. Currently my method of detection is a ninhydrin test for the detection alpha amino acids, although I would prefer to not need liquid reagents and heavy test equipment as I have a limit of about 200kg for the entire rover and 3 other experiments, and a for the detection of the nucleotide bases I believe testing the absorbance of UV light will allow for a first order detection of nucleotide bases.

    If anyone has other ideas on methodology I would greatly appreciate the input.

    I also posted this in the chemistry thread but I guess it should go here
  2. jcsd
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