Decision support algorithm for the selection of analytical methods in organic compounds detection for future extraterrestrial exploratory missions

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Abstract

The search for biotic compounds beyond planet Earth is among the highest priorities in space discovery.

We sought to detect organic molecules in various earth soil samples collected from environments with extreme climatic conditions comparable to extraterrestrial environments using HPLC, spectrophotometry (UV, IR), GC/MS, and vertical gel electrophoresis analyses systems. The applied methods in the study were compared using a self-developed software tool that was designed to evaluate the viability of instrument selection for organics detection in any given exploratory mission. The tool was created to aid further development and refinements of rapidly improving technological solutions such as MCE and MS instruments. Such comparison can be done quickly and easily, acting as a decision support tool when choosing between analytical methods during any planning phase of future exploration missions led by space agencies (i.e., NASA).

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