Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 384, Issue 1, pp 100–113 | Cite as

Raman spectroscopy in astrobiology



Raman spectroscopy is proposed as a valuable analytical technique for planetary exploration because it is sensitive to organic and inorganic compounds and able to unambiguously identify key spectral markers in a mixture of biological and geological components; furthermore, sample manipulation is not required and any size of sample can be studied without chemical or mechanical pretreatment. NASA and ESA are considering the adoption of miniaturised Raman spectrometers for inclusion in suites of analytical instrumentation to be placed on robotic landers on Mars in the near future to search for extinct or extant life signals. In this paper we review the advantages and limitations of Raman spectroscopy for the analysis of complex specimens with relevance to the detection of bio- and geomarkers in extremophilic organisms which are considered to be terrestrial analogues of possible extraterrestial life that could have developed on planetary surfaces.


Raman spectroscopy Astrobiology Extremophile Biomarkers Geomarkers 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susana E. Jorge Villar
    • 1
  • Howell G. M. Edwards
    • 2
  1. 1.Área de Geodinámica InternaFacultad de Humanidades y EducaciónBurgosSpain
  2. 2.Chemical and Forensic SciencesUniversity of BradfordWest YorkshireUK

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