The Biological Oxidant and Life Detection (BOLD) mission

A proposal for a mission to Mars

Dirk Schulze-Makuch, James N. Head, Joop M. Houtkooper, Michael Knoblauch, Roberto Furfaro, Wolfgang Fink, Alberto G. Fairén, Hojatollah Vali, S. Kelly Sears, Mike Daly, David Deamer, Holger Schmidt, Aaron R. Hawkins, Henry J. Sun, Darlene S S Lim, James Dohm, Louis N. Irwin, Alfonso F. Davila, Abel Mendez, Dale Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The next step in the exploration of Mars should include a strong and comprehensive life detection component. We propose a mission called BOLD: Biological Oxidant and Life Detection mission. The scientific objectives of the BOLD mission are to characterize habitability of the martian surface and to search for evidence of extinct or extant life. In contrast to the Viking mission, which was designed to detect heterotrophic life on Mars, the BOLD mission incorporates a more comprehensive search for autotrophic microorganisms, as well as detecting a variety of biomarkers and understanding their environment. Six miniature landers are envisioned for BOLD that utilize either an orbital (e.g. Viking) or direct entry (e.g.; MER, Phoenix) mission architecture. The number of landers will provide mission redundancy, and each will incorporate a Mars Soil Analyzer, a Multispectral Microscopic Imager, a Nanopore-ARROW that detects biopolymers with single molecule resolution, an Atmospheric Structure and Surface Environment Instrument, a Fluorescent Stain experiment, and a Chirality experiment. A terrain navigation system, coupled with robust propulsion, permits a landing accuracy on the order of meters if required to meet the science objectives. The probes will use existing orbiters for communication relay if the orbiter architecture proves too ambitious.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-69
Number of pages13
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Volume67
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2012

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oxidant
mars
proposals
Mars
atmospheric structure
habitability
Phoenix (AZ)
biomarkers
landing
biopolymers
relay
redundancy
microorganisms
navigation
propulsion
biomarker
detection
chirality
entry
experiment

Keywords

  • Instrumentation
  • Life detection
  • Mars mission
  • Microbial life
  • Oxidant
  • Viking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

The Biological Oxidant and Life Detection (BOLD) mission : A proposal for a mission to Mars. / Schulze-Makuch, Dirk; Head, James N.; Houtkooper, Joop M.; Knoblauch, Michael; Furfaro, Roberto; Fink, Wolfgang; Fairén, Alberto G.; Vali, Hojatollah; Kelly Sears, S.; Daly, Mike; Deamer, David; Schmidt, Holger; Hawkins, Aaron R.; Sun, Henry J.; Lim, Darlene S S; Dohm, James; Irwin, Louis N.; Davila, Alfonso F.; Mendez, Abel; Andersen, Dale.

In: Planetary and Space Science, Vol. 67, No. 1, 07.2012, p. 57-69.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Schulze-Makuch, D, Head, JN, Houtkooper, JM, Knoblauch, M, Furfaro, R, Fink, W, Fairén, AG, Vali, H, Kelly Sears, S, Daly, M, Deamer, D, Schmidt, H, Hawkins, AR, Sun, HJ, Lim, DSS, Dohm, J, Irwin, LN, Davila, AF, Mendez, A & Andersen, D 2012, 'The Biological Oxidant and Life Detection (BOLD) mission: A proposal for a mission to Mars', Planetary and Space Science, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 57-69. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2012.03.008
Schulze-Makuch, Dirk ; Head, James N. ; Houtkooper, Joop M. ; Knoblauch, Michael ; Furfaro, Roberto ; Fink, Wolfgang ; Fairén, Alberto G. ; Vali, Hojatollah ; Kelly Sears, S. ; Daly, Mike ; Deamer, David ; Schmidt, Holger ; Hawkins, Aaron R. ; Sun, Henry J. ; Lim, Darlene S S ; Dohm, James ; Irwin, Louis N. ; Davila, Alfonso F. ; Mendez, Abel ; Andersen, Dale. / The Biological Oxidant and Life Detection (BOLD) mission : A proposal for a mission to Mars. In: Planetary and Space Science. 2012 ; Vol. 67, No. 1. pp. 57-69.
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