Digital Holographic Microscopy hunts down microbes in Enceladus

Tinuku ~ The researchers designed holographic imagery to detect signs of life in outer space. An attempt to explore samples and identify microbes as signs of life on the moon Enceladus, a team of researchers at the California Institute of Technology offers a technique called Digital Holographic Microscopy using lasers to record 3-D images to find space microbes.

Tinuku Digital Holographic Microscopy hunts down microbes in Enceladus

The Saturn orbiting Enceladus Moon has a lot of ocean-sized water hidden beneath the ice shell that lines the entire surface, but scientists on Earth at a distance of about 790 million miles have difficulty identifying the marked life potential of microbial existence.

"You have more difficulty identifying microbes than a speck of dust, you have to distinguish between Brownian motion as a random motion of matter and the movement of deliberate living organisms," said Jay Nadeau of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.

Enceladus is the sixth moon of Saturn and 100,000 times smaller than Earth. A world allows objects on the surface to have a speed of 239 meters per second. A very large geyser wreaks 250 kilograms of water vapor every second through cracks in the moon ice shell and regularly spills to a height of nearly 500 kilometers above the surface.

Nadeau said the water mixture into space gave a rare opportunity in which a probe on Enceladus' surface collected samples that might contain microbes. But the continued problem is finding microbes in water samples is a difficult job.

"Bacteria are lacking a lot of cellular features. Bacteria are usually in the form of lumps and smaller in diameter than a hair, sometimes not different from dead material granules. Looking at patterns and chemistry seems useful, but you do not know the material is alive and not because of movement," Nadeau said.

Nadeau and the team suggest the movement of many living organisms potentially used for extraterrestrial life. Movements of living organisms can also be triggered or enhanced by "feeding" the microbial electrons and observing active development. They send research results to Astrobiology.

Digital Holographic Microscopy is built for astrobiology using lasers and light that bounces off objects and is measured when returned to the detector. These scattered lights contain information about amplitude and phase, while the computer reconstructs 3-dimensional object imagery to show movement.

Nadeau and colleagues used water samples from the Arctic rarely inhabited bacteria to identify organisms with a population density of just 1,000 cells per milliliter or similar to those in some of Earth's most extreme environments such as subglacial lakes.