Although the project will not use quantum computing directly to search for life in deep space, it can potentially help the effort by creating a data base of detectable signatures of molecules that could suggest biological activity. MIT researchers in 2016 created a list of 14,000 molecules that could indicate signs of life in extraterrestrial planets. The E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Hull will evaluate using Zapata’s Orquestra and quantum computing to create a database of detectable signatures using new computational models of molecular rotations and vibrations that will show how these molecules respond to infrared radiation from nearby stars. This evaluation will be a short one, scheduled to only last for eight weeks, but there are expected to be several follow-on projects between Zapata and the University of Hull for additional quantum astrophysics related applications. Additional information about this project can be found in a news release provided by Zapata available here.

October 8, 2021