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UK Centre for Astrobiology Begins Search for Extraterrestrial Life

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A new planetary simulator located at Edinburgh University’s UK centre for Astrobiology will spearhead Britain’s search for extra-terrestrial life - bringing together researchers from 15 institutions across the country.

The new simulator, worth £300,000, uses a state-of-the-art “vacuum chamber” to recreate atmospheric conditions on planets such as Mars.

Professor Charles Cockell, an internationally renowned astrobiologist who will lead the centre, said: “Of course, it’s very difficult to search for intelligent life and there hasn’t been any evidence that it exists. But essentially, we’ll be looking at all possible forms of life. Astrobiologists are interested in looking for Earth-like planets around other stars, which could host micro-organisms or intelligent life.”

The new centre will also help build robotic machines that will be able to land on asteroids and will coordinate research at a laboratory in Yorkshire that is located more than one kilometre underground. The purpose of the laboratory is to enable the study of organisms living deep below the Earth’s surface.  It is believed that studying life in the most extreme environments on earth will bring us closer to understanding where and how life could survive in outer space.

By April Holloway

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