IMNS Webinar: Prarthana Desai and Alistair Gorman


online event


Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - 13:00 to 14:30

Searching for life in the Universe - Is looking for water enough?

Prarthana Desai

Water is an essential medium for all known life processes. However, humidity alone is not enough to indicate habitability of an extra-terrestrial environment. Water activity is more closely related to the microbial, chemical, and physical properties of substrates than the total moisture content, thereby acting as a direct indicator for habitability. Surprisingly, no water activity measurement system has been sent out to outer space for habitability studies yet. I will go through the journey of developing a novel water-activity device, adapted for dynamic changes in field-tests. From lab testing at the University of Edinburgh, to field tests down a mine (Boulby Mine, UK) and measurements at the Basque lakes in Canada (along with SETG team from MIT), I will discuss the challenges faced and lessons learnt throughout this journey to increase the device’s TRL. Finally, I’ll look at what more needs to be done to see it potentially deployed for future exploration for life in our Solar system.

Sensing of the eye

Dr Alistair Gorman

Monitoring ocular health is important as vision is the dominant sense for most people, and many other conditions such as diabetes can manifest in the eye. A number of technologies have been developed to sense the structure, condition and function of the eye. This talk will discuss the features of interest and the technologies used to sense them.

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