A new science project begun by ALFA Mars (Agnostic Life Finding Association – Mars), a group of scientists, engineers, science communicators, and volunteers aiming to determine prior to initial human exploration of the red planet whether or not indigenous life is present today on Mars, has received the public backing of the Mars Society, the world’s largest space advocacy group dedicated to the human exploration and settlement of Mars.
“We believe that ALFA Mars offers a new and important approach to locating current life on the red planet, one that should be supported in a variety of ways to ensure that its mission is carried out prior to the initial human exploration of Mars,” said James Burk, Mars Society Executive Director.
ALFA Mars is developing an instrument that will isolate genetic polymers from large volumes of Martian subsurface ice, mined during future Mars ISRU missions, in an effort to find evidence of present day life. The concentrated biomolecules will then be analyzed on-site to determine whether they are truly traces of the Martian biosphere. Scientists from the ALFA Mars team are convinced that a small and flexible private mission has a high chance of finding life on Mars before humans set foot there.
“We are an international astrobiology group with the goal of finding life on Mars before the first humans arrive there. Since government agencies currently do not share our objective, we have decided to pursue our mission with private funding,” said Dr. Jan Špaček, manager of ALFA Mars.
Administered by the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, ALFA Mars is actively seeking research and industry collaborators, financial support, and volunteers to move forward with its planned mission to detect life on the red planet. If you are interested in learning more about ALFA Mars, please click here to watch a new project video or visit the group’s web site at: www.alfamars.org.