We provide a scientific rationale for the astrobiological investigation of Mars. We suggest that, given practical constraints, the most promising locations for the search for former life on Mars are palaeolake craters and the evaporite deposits that may reside within them. We suggest that Raman spectroscopy offers a promising tool for the detection of evidence of former (or extant) biota on Mars. In particular, we highlight the detection of hopanoids as long-lived bacterial cell wall products and photosynthetic pigments as the most promising targets. We further suggest that Raman spectroscopy as a fibre optic-based instrument lends itself to flexible planetary deployment.

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Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Ellery, A, & Wynn-Williams, D. (David). (2003). Why Raman spectroscopy on mars? - A case of the right tool for the right job. In Astrobiology (Vol. 3, pp. 565–579). doi:10.1089/153110703322610654