Clues about Martian life? Organic material discovered in a Martian meteorite

Life on Mars

Thin section of ALH-77005 in flat polarized light. The area studied by FTIR spectroscopy is marked by a rectangle, where the strong
An alleged microbial-mediated alteration was observed. doi: 10.1515 / astro-2019-0002

According to NASA, scientists agree that there is no life on Mars. However, they continue to evaluate whether Mars ever had an environment capable of supporting microbial life. Now, Hungarian researchers have discovered organic material embedded in a Martian meteorite found in the late 1970s. Scientists were able to determine the presence of organic matter in mineralized form, such as different forms of bacteria within the meteorite, suggesting that life may have existed on the Red Planet.

Officially called ALH-77005, the Martian meteorite was found in Allan Hills, Antarctica, during the mission of the National Polar Research Institute of Japan between 1977 and 1978. The new study "Biosignatures mineralized in ALH-77005 Shergottite – Clues to Martian Life? "Published in De Gruyter's Open Astronomy magazine, by authors Ildiko Gyollai, Márta Polgári and Szaniszló Bérczi, proposes the presence of active bacteria on Mars. His research also suggests that there may have been life on other planets.

"Our work is important for a wide audience because it integrates planetary, terrestrial, biological, chemical and environmental sciences, and will be of great interest to many researchers in these fields," explains lead author Ildiko Gyollai of the HAS Research Center for Astronomy and Earth sciences. in budapest "The research will also be of interest to planetologists, experts in meteorites and astrobiology, as well as to researchers of the origin of life, and to the general public, as it offers an example of a novel aspect of microbial mediation in meteorites. of stone ", concludes Gyollai. .

This new research could change the examination of meteorites in the future. In light of their discovery, the authors argue that solar system materials should be studied to establish whether there is evidence of microbial forms within the space rocks, and an indication that there was life on Mars.

Publication: Ildikó Gyollai, et al., "Mineralized Biosignatures in ALH-77005 Shergottite – Martian Life Tracks?", Open Astronomy, 2019; doi: 10.1515 / astro-2019-0002

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