Fossilized bacteria in a meteorite on Mars are proof of life, according to a study



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Similar claims have been made previously, and NASA announced in 1996 that it had found signs of life on Mars in another space rock, known as ALH 84001, which also cited the appearance of the strands and filaments.

A second Martian meteorite has been found showing "signs of microbial life," Hungarian researchers say in their report on the latest study, published in Open Astronomy, which revives the claims of "bacterial" fossils made 20 years ago by NASA.

It is claimed that the meteorite, officially known as ALH-77005, contains "biological signatures," which researchers describe as textures and characteristics left by organisms.

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The experts turned to advanced imaging techniques that, they say, revealed microfilaments created by fossilized Martian microbes.

A team of researchers from the Research Center of Astronomy and Earth Sciences of the Hungarian Academy (HAS) used optical microscopy and infrared technology to study the textures and characteristics of the thin sample of ALH-77005.

The Hungarian researchers also examined minerals and other materials embedded in the stone, and performed isotope tests to verify the chemical constituents essential for life. The studies led to the conclusion that the microscopic filaments inside could indicate the presence of bacteria that survive by ingesting iron oxide.

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In 1996, NASA scientists claimed to have found evidence of microbial life in a meteorite on Mars known as ALH 84001, similarly citing the appearance of strands and filaments. The rock occurred four billion years ago on Mars and landed on Earth about 13,000 years ago.

At that time, even the president of the United States, Bill Clinton, backed the scientists' findings and said the discovery could offer the "most impressive perspectives" of the universe.

Clinton said: "Today, rock 84001 speaks to us through those billions of years and millions of miles, it speaks of the possibility of life, and if this discovery is confirmed, it will surely be one of the most impressive ideas of our universe that science has never discovered. "

The scientists at that time said that it was impossible to prove or disprove such claims since the marks could have been formed by non-biological processes.

READ MORE: scientists show that bacteria and unicellular entities can survive on Mars

Dr. Ildiko Gyollai, from the Research Center for Astronomy and Earth Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Science (HAS), led the most recent study. Writing in the document, the authors said: "Comparing recent results and interpretation with other meteorites, it can be argued that, in these similarities, biosignatures mediated by microbes can be proposed to microbial mediation by [iron oxidising bacteria] In mars."

The meteorite is said to contain 'biosignatures', which the researchers describe as textures and characteristics left by organisms. The image shows a thin section of ALH-77005 in flat polarized light, with the studied area marked by a brown rectangle, and experts conclude that the microscopic filaments inside could indicate the presence of bacteria that survive by eating iron oxide.

The full report on the latest study was published in Open Astronomy.


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