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Artificial intelligence helps in the search for extraterrestrial life

Artificial intelligence helps in the search for extraterrestrial life

Scientists have developed a simple and reliable test to search for extraterrestrial life. The novelty uses artificial intelligence to determine with 90% accuracy whether a particular sample has a biological origin or not. The work was published in the scientific journal With people.

This mechanism could be used on existing samples, according to the researchers. This means, for example, that we already have many samples that can tell us whether there is life or not Mars. Scientists hope to use the test on samples the robot has already collected curiousityFrom the US Space Agency (NASA), on the Earth of Mars.

The test could also help make important discoveries on Earth itself, revealing, for example, the origin of some still unknown rocks.

Scientists develop a test that will help prove whether life exists (or ever existed) on Mars; An illustration released by NASA shows the Curiosity robot on the Red Planet filming: NASA/JPL-Caltech/via Reuters

“The search for extraterrestrial life remains one of the most enticing projects in modern science,” said lead author Jim Cleaves of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington. “The implications of this new research are many, but some are more important: we can try, with the samples we already have from Mars, for example, whether there is life at all, and we can also obtain important information to guide it.” Future vital astronomical missions.”

The test does not look for specific molecules or compounds that could indicate the presence of life, like many other techniques available. Instead, it looks for small changes in molecular patterns through different analyses.

Scientists fed the AI ​​data from known specimens, with information about which organisms were living and which were not. They then submitted new samples to the program to request identification. Artificial intelligence succeeded in achieving this in 90% of cases. The test can differentiate between living specimens, such as a leaf that has just been removed from a tree, and others that have been fossilized for a long time.

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“This analytical method has the potential to revolutionize the search for extraterrestrial life and deepen our understanding of the origin and chemistry of the first life forms on Earth,” said Robert Hazen of the Carnegie Institution for Science, one of the lead authors of the work. . . “We will be able, for example, to use sensors on robots to search for signs of life before samples reach Earth.”