New Evidence for Life on the Martian Meteorite

Posted by on November 25th, 2009

According to Spaceflight Now, NASA researchers are about to release new evidence that a Martian meteorite shows evidence for life. The research team originally announced the discovery of the meteorite back in 1996. There was a lot of controversy over what exactly they found. Critics pointed out that the kind of bacterial fossil they claimed to have found was far smaller than any terrestrial example and may have been a product of geology. But the science hasn’t stopped:

Now, 13 years after the Martian meteorite life story emerged, the science team finally feels vindicated. Their data shows the meteorite is no smoking gun but is full of evidence that supports the existence of life on the surface of Mars, or in subsurface water pools, early in the planet’s history.

link: Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Martian meteorite surrenders new secrets of possible life

Here’s Wikipedia’s article on the meteorite:

On August 6, 1996[4] ALH 84001 became newsworthy when it was announced that the meteorite may contain evidence for traces of life from Mars, as published in an article in Science by David McKay of NASA.

The electron microscope revealed chain structures in meteorite fragment ALH84001 Under the scanning electron microscope structures were revealed that may be the remains—in the form of fossils—of bacteria-like lifeforms. The structures found on ALH 84001 are 20-100 nanometres in diameter, similar in size to the theoretical nanobacteria, but smaller than any known cellular life at the time of their discovery. If the structures are really fossilized lifeforms, they would be the first solid evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial life, aside from the chance of their origin being terrestrial contamination.

link: Allan Hills 84001 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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