Does anyone know of any missions planned or in progress that are searching in the very vacuum of space for the complex organic molecules that are key indicators of life (such as DNA, RNA, etc.), or perhaps even life itself (as currently defined; ie. one cell or multi-cellular), or even lifelike things such as viruses?
I know there are several missions in search of life or evidence of life on celestial bodies (eg. Mars), but I'm talking about just in the "emptiness" of space itself.
I'm envisioning some kind of vehicle with a solar-sail for propulsion and perhaps also some kind of sensors built into these vast areas of the sails that also looks for the presence of certain biochemical molecules or cells that may have come into contact with the sails and stuck there as the vessel swept through space.
That kind of a discovery would seem to me to represent a potentially major change in humanity's search for extra-terrestrial life.