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Fresh claim for fossil life in Mars rock


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Author Topic: Fresh claim for fossil life in Mars rock  (Read 516 times)
DazzaMc
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« on: November 29, 2009, 10:42:35 am »

Fresh claim for fossil life in Mars rock

It's arguably the most scrutinised piece of rock ever. Now an even closer look at a meteorite from Mars suggests it may show signs of life after all.

In 1996, David McKay of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texax, and colleagues proposed that that a chunk of Mars rock found in Antarctica, called ALH 84001, contained possible signs of past life on the Red Planet, such as complex carbon-based molecules and microscopic objects shaped like bacteria

Many researchers doubt the claim, however, and various suggestions have been made for how the structures could have been created without life.

One area of disagreement centred around nanocrystal magnetites in the rock, some of which appear to have chemical and physical features identical to those produced by contemporary bacteria. Sceptics of the biological explanation suggested that the magnetites were created when carbonate decomposed under high pressures and temperatures, perhaps in the heat of the impact that ejected the meteorite 15 million years ago or deep beneath the Martian surface.

Now a fresh analysis by McKay and colleagues rules out the carbonate decomposition explanation.

The researchers have used high-resolution electron microscopy not available 13 years ago to study the physical and chemical make-up of the magnetites in detail, and found that no plausible geological scenario could explain the carbonate decomposition origin.

Dennis Bazylinski at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas told British newspaper The Times: "Until now I was on the fence, but this paper has really thrown out the non-biological explanation."

The possibility that the rock contains fossilised microbes received another boost in August when a team led by Paul Niles, also of NASA Johnson, showed that carbon in the meteorite was deposited in balmy water conducive to life, rather than a scorching temperature above 150 C as had been proposed previously.

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2009/11/fresh-claim-for-fossil-life-in.html
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DazzaMc
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2009, 10:52:11 am »



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robman
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2009, 09:38:57 pm »

Nice aerial shot of Mars surface

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap091129.html
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DazzaMc
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« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2009, 09:54:54 pm »

Nice aerial shot of Mars surface

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap091129.html

Looks EXACTLY like the shores of a long lost lake or ocean to me!
Cool pic though!


I reckon ALH 84001 contains fossilized life - we just aren't open minded enough to accept it yet.

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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2014, 06:25:55 am »

Opportunity Rover Discovers Mystery Rock on Mars
http://nz.finance.yahoo.com/video/opportunity-rover-discovers-mystery-rock-084426990.html

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