NASA to hunt for aliens using new ‘cutting-edge’ laser technology, researchers say
A high-tech tool, developed for NASA by University of Maryland researchers, will help NASA scour distant planets and moons for signs of alien life. - Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

A newly developed laser instrument will help NASA scour distant planets and moons for signs of alien life, researchers say. The high-tech tool, developed for NASA by University of Maryland researchers, only weighs about 17 pounds, making it light enough to be brought along on deep space explorations, according to a study published in the journal Nature on Jan. 16 and an accompanying news release. The tool is made up of two main components: an ultraviolet laser for excising samples from a planet’s surface and an ion analyzer that produces detailed information about the chemical makeup of the ma...