The chemical guidebook to life on Mars

A new chemical guidebook and spectral imaging system developed by scientists at the US Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory and the Universities of Idaho and Montana will allow a future Martian rover to spot the signs of life on the red planet. The chemical guidebook based on mass spectrometric data will carry profiles of earthbound rocks and other materials that have been exposed to microbial life as well as data from control samples. A Martian rover thus armed could autonomously seek out the signs of life.