NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 S1.11-9802
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In Situ Instruments/Technologies for Ocean Worlds Life Detection
PROPOSAL TITLE: Ocean Life Detection on Alien Worlds

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Connecticut Analytical Corporation
696 Amity Road
Bethany, CT 06524 - 3006
(203) 393-9666

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Joseph J. Bango
jbango@ctanalytical.com
696 Amity Road
Bethany, CT 06524 - 3006
(203) 393-9666 Extension :21

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Joseph J. Bango
jbango@ctanalytical.com
696 Amity Road
Bethany, CT 06524 - 3006
(203) 393-9666 Extension :21

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
In Situ Instruments/Technologies for Ocean Worlds Life Detection is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?
No

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This proposal is in response to NASA's request for technologies that can enhance the detection of life in alien oceans. As stated in the call, the Technologies for Detection of Extant Life subtopic seeks instruments and component technologies that will enable unambiguous determination of whether extant life is present in target environments on other solar system bodies. Because there is no single measurable signature of life, this will require advances in a variety of areas, from those involving sample processing to the detailed components of chemical and optical instruments. Searches for extant life can take place in a variety of environments, including ocean depths, ice sheets, dry deserts, seasonal flows, or even dense atmospheres; technologies are required for handling samples obtained from any or all of these environments. Preprocessing technologies required for those samples may include separation, concentration, dilution, drying, staining, mixing, and many other common processes for laboratory analysis, but which must be done in a remote, autonomous environment. Tests of whether a given sample contains or indicates the presence of extant life include the full range of microbiological and chemical techniques, but those that do not require the addition of potential biomarkers (e.g., complex organics) as part of the test are preferred. We have spent he past 5 years developing a novel means of capturing and concentrating organic molecules onto specialized graphene surfaces, available for later detailed analysis. The adaptation of this technology could offer a new avenue for the detection of key organic elements in ocean environments that contain many background elemental noise sources.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Soon after our work began with graphene sheets and the ability to adsorb biomolecules, we began to wonder whether there would be a means of no just adsorbing the species, but identifying key factors about target analytes of interest without have to resort to complicated platforms such as mass spectrometry. While immunoassays provide high sensitivity to many target species, they must be constructed with some prior knowledge of the target. Such is likely not to be the case for alien organic molecules, although some basic assumptions can be made. As indicated by Dr. Willis at JPL, amino acids are a good start for the search for life. Consequently we wanted to find additional ways in which graphene could assist the search for life in alien oceans. One possibility may be using graphene nanopores to attract, sequence, and retain organic molecules of interest. Nanopore based analysis is currently an area of great interest in many disciplines with the potential for incredibly versatile applications. These include sensing small molecules such as ions, nucleotides, enantiomers, and drugs, as well as larger polymers such as PEG, RNA, DNA, amino acids, and polypeptides. Single pore sensing is a label-free single molecule recognition approach requiring very low sample volumes without sample preparations or amplifications. The detection of organic molecules using graphene in several ways is therefore a versatile method for a number of NASA life detection missions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Our work over the past 5 years developing a novel means of capturing and concentrating organic molecules onto specialized graphene surfaces, under DARPA support for medical diagnostics. There is substantial market potential for new graphene technologies that can help quantify the presence and concentration of biomolecules for the healthcare industry.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Biological Signature (i.e., Signs Of Life)

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59