Who doesn’t love the idea of opening up a brand new laptop for the first time and thinking of everything that’s possible with a current and capable piece of technology? While a computer upgrade is always a nice thing for carrying out everyday tasks like browsing the web, video conferencing, and running software, NASA’s new laptop is likely to be used for tasks that are far grander, such as detecting life on other planets.


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That’s what the Chemical Laptop has been designed to do. This tricked-out device developed by NASA may help the space agency efficiently identify life-forms on other cosmic bodies.

A Life-Form Identifying Lab On The Go
The Chemical Laptop has been specifically designed to analyze chemicals that are considered the building-blocks of life, such as amino and fatty acids. Beyond that, the laptop has been developed to determine whether or not the chemicals in a given sample are simply naturally occurring or created biologically—as in from a living cell membrane.

While it may first appear that the Chemical Laptop is little more than a chemical analysis device that happens to look like a laptop, it has more in common with a conventional computer than it seems. Like an ordinary laptop, it can be reprogrammed, run apps, and perform a range of different functions in an effort to analyze substances. It’s compact, portal structure easily lends itself to the idea of a traveling lab, which will be necessary for future missions to Mars and beyond.

From Mars To Europa And Further
As local samples are collected from Europa, Mars, and other bodies in our cosmic neighborhood, the Chemical Laptop may be able to provide us with precise information and deeper insight into the possibility of nearby alien life, and do so in a more efficient manner. The only major prerequisite for substance to be analyzed by the Chemical Laptop is that it be in liquid form.

This means that melted ice from Europia could be sampled for signs of life, as could recently confirmed liquid water on Mars. Solid substances could potentially be tested after being boiled in pressurized water and creating a type of “interplanetary tea” for the Chemical Laptop to analyze.

What are your thoughts on this new development from NASA? Tell us in the comments.

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