Article by a Portuguese researcher from the University of Macau, recognized by the journal Nature “| Astrobiology

A scientific article in the field of astronomy, which includes Portuguese researcher André Antunes, was highlighted by Nature magazine, the University of Science and Technology of Macau (UM) said this Tuesday.

“The article, co-authored by Associate Professor André Antunes, and entitled ‘Experimental and Simulation Efforts in Astrobiological Exploration of Exooceans’, is the culmination of the work of an international transdisciplinary team that gathered experimental and model studies from various fields related to the exploration of the oceans of the icy moons of the solar system, ”says the university’s statement.

“This contribution is seen as particularly relevant to the next phase of exploring the moons Europa and Encelado and finding life,” he adds. The article was published in Space Science Reviews in January 2020.

In July 2020, researchers from Macau, one of whom was André Antunes, told the Lusa Agency that they would help China land on Mars, study radiation, and search for water and life on the planet.

One of the challenges for the State Reference Laboratory for Lunar and Planetary Sciences at the University of Science and Technology of Macau (MUST) is to ensure that the Chinese exploration module, which is part of the mission launched in July 2020, lands safely on the surface of the red planet, something only the United States has achieved so far.

At that time, André Antunes, who was not the main target, summed up one of the questions and motivations that “feed” the mission and the concerns of the laboratory scientists in Macau: “What we would like to have from the point of view of discovery, rather in the medium term [seria] the discovery of life on Mars or the proof that life once existed on Mars ”.

After all, the naturalist from Coimbra argued: “From the point of view of the ability to harbor life (…), the conditions on Mars are not so extreme, in contrast to what was originally assumed in the first missions (…) , they are not that different from the conditions we have on our own planet. “

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