Branimir Blagojevic, a NASA technologist at Goddard Space Flight Center, has created a new instrument to detect signatures of life on Mars and across the solar system.
NASA said Tuesday Blagojevic developed a prototype of the Bio-Indicator Lidar Instrument through a remote-sensing technique that the U.S. military uses to detect potentially harmful chemicals, toxins and pathogens in the air.
BILI is designed to use light to analyze the composition of particles in the atmosphere and detect bio-signatures, NASA added.
The space agency noted BILI will be positioned on a rover’s mast to search for dust plumes then illuminate particles inside dust clouds to help scientists identify potential organic particles in the dust.
Blagojevic said BILI is built to act as a survey instrument that does not require consumables other than electrical power to conduct measurements over a broad area.
Blagojevic added his team looks to integrate, test, ruggedize the design and reduce the size of BILI.
The instrument was created through NASA’s Center Innovation Fund and is based on a U.S. military sensor developed by Blagojevic’s former employer Science and Engineering Services.