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Mars meteorite: supposed life 'proof' not then

Mars meteorite: supposed life ‘proof’ not then


Some time ago, supposedly strong evidence of simple life on Mars caused some excitement. Now, however, the latest discoveries are taking the wind out of the sails.

The story began in 1984 when a rock weighing about 2 kilograms was found in Antarctica. This was a meteorite that originally belonged to Mars. During the analysis, many spherical carbon inclusions were found and in a paper published in 1996, they were attributed to the activities of simple organisms, otherwise the formation of these shapes is difficult to explain.

Until then, many scholars reported serious skepticism, but the criticisms faded over time and so the thesis essentially remained part of the discourse. Now, however, some scholars have approached the topic again and have been able to use more modern methods of analysis. In the end, they came to completely different conclusions.

Respect for colleagues

However, the new work on the meteorite should not be viewed as a refutation, but as an exciting discovery about Mars. Andrew Steele of the Carnegie Institution for Science explained that colleagues’ hypothesis more than 25 years ago was at least a reasonable explanation for the data available at the time. However, real evidence can only be found when suitable samples are brought to Earth, which is currently being worked on.

However, the meteorite’s carbon balls are actually too old to be traced back to life activity. After all, the rocky material is 4 billion years old, and therefore it goes back to the early stage of planet formation in our solar system. Here, the bodies were more likely due to the involvement of water, as two meteorite impacts occurred in its vicinity on the still wet surface of Mars. A third collision then threw the rock into space and dropped it to Earth long after that.

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