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NASA has funded Argentine scientists to investigate the existence of life on other planets

NASA has funded Argentine scientists to investigate the existence of life on other planets

Experts from UBA’s Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences have received support from the North American agency to investigate the possibility of the presence of microorganisms in liquids other than water.

With support from NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, specialists from CONSET and UBA have presented scientific work suggesting that life can exist in solvents other than water, significantly expanding the possibilities of finding it on other planets.

The study was published in the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States and was based on an analysis of the behavior of biopolymers (proteins, DNA, RNA and other macromolecules essential for life) in 54 different solvents.

“Traditionally, it was assumed that life could only exist in water. But over time, studies were published indicating the possibility of life existing in solvents other than water on exoplanets. Our work now expands the search for life on other planets by increasing the list of solvents that have the potential to host biopolymers that support other types of life, molecularly different from those found in the biosphere, from the authors of the work and a researcher at the Institute of Biochemistry at the Faculty of Science Subtle and natural (Ekibesen).

He continued: “Our research shows that other solvents, such as alcohols, hydrocarbons and compounds found in molecular clouds distributed throughout the universe and on exoplanets, can also contain biochemistry and perhaps life.”

“Since 2019, we have been part of an international consortium of researchers, thanks in part to funding from NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, which has also allowed us to study potential extraterrestrial proteins,” explains researcher Diego Ferrero, who leads with Sanchez work Ikebsen Institute. .

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Ezekiel Galpern, one of the other scientists involved in the work, added: “This discovery opens up new possibilities for the search for extraterrestrial life. Now, astrobiology research will also be able to focus on studying planets containing these solvents, significantly expanding the field of search for life on other planets.