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That Martian meteorites can tell us about extraterrestrial life?
You should be aware that Martian meteorites fell under the close attention of scientists because of tiny structures, which is credited with a biological origin. That these tiny structures in the theory can tell us about the biology beyond Earth ?
In the February issue of the journal Astrobiology, an article appeared, causing the effect of deja vu. A team of scientists from the Johnson Space Center in Houston and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, described the results of a 14-pound meteorite called Yamato 000593 (Y000593). Meteorite sample provides convincing evidence that Mars could be much wetter than it is now, and in addition, studies have reported evidence of “biological processes”, which took place on the red planet hundreds of millions of years ago.
While it sounds interesting and leaves room certain skepticism, researchers seem to have foreseen the allegations that “Life on Mars” and already causes mistrust. How interesting was the microbial life of the red planet millions of years ago?
In 1996, U.S. President Bill Clinton announced on television that evidence of extraterrestrial life have been discovered by NASA scientists inside another Martian meteorite called Allan Hills 84001 (AH84001). Discovery was that through a scanning electron microscope were found “biogenic structure” inside the meteorite, which theoretically could be formed by the indigenous life on Mars.
However controversial statement has caused a storm in the media, which has put the findings into question the team of scientists. Nevertheless, the work has been protected, and after exclusion of terrestrial pollution and other factors that could create a worm-like nanoscale structures. Chief scientist McKay also worked on the study Y000593, until he died in February 2013.
Unusual cosmic pebble
The new work was centered around the meteorite that was discovered in a glacier in Antarctica Yamato Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition in 2000.
Analysis meteorite showed that it was formed on the surface of Mars about 1.3 billion years ago in the lava flow. Then, about 12 million years ago, a powerful event ruined region, blowing up an impressive amount of the Martian crust and throwing it together with any hypothetical forms of life and its evidence in space. Then pieces of Mars traveled interplanetary space until one of the samples Y000593 not collided and fell in Antarctica about 50,000 years ago.
There are many known samples of Mars that fell to Earth as meteorites and considered incredibly valuable patterns, as they represent a kind of time capsule of the geological past of Mars. These meteorites are inherently convey to us samples of Mars without any space missions.
“While robotic missions to Mars are still trying to shed light on the history of the planet, the only samples from Mars that are available for research in the world, are Martian meteorites – said study lead author Lauren White of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA. – On the ground, we can use several analytical methods to deeper insight into the meteorite and shed light on the history of Mars. These samples may contain the key to the inhabited planets of its past. As are more and more Martian meteorites, combined studies provide more attributes living on a planet in ancient times. In addition, if these studies are confirmed meteorites modern robotic observations of Mars, the mystery of the planet and its wet past can be revealed. ”
In their study, the researchers describe the features associated with the Martian clay deposits – mikrotunnelyami similar to those that are found in samples Y000593. Compared with terrestrial samples Martian shapes apparently very similar to the texture biogidrotermalnye basalt glasses. In principle, this means that the Martian meteorite contains features that resemble mineral formations created by terrestrial bacteria.
Another factor – the opening of balls ranging in size from nanometers to microns, located between the layers of stone meteorite. These balls are different from the minerals inside the stone and rich carbon, which may indicate a biological interaction within the rock material.
Could this be evidence of Martian bacteria munching Martian pebbles? Unfortunately, this conclusion can not be concluded from the study, so the researchers avoid the word “life” in his works – replace it with “biogenic” and “biotic activity.”
“We can not exclude the possibility that the carbon-rich areas may be the product and biotic mechanisms – the scientists say. The so-called abiotic mechanisms mean that the investigation not caused microbial life, and chemical reactions in geology stone. – Nevertheless, textural and compositional similarities to features in terrestrial samples that accurately interpreted as biogenic offer intriguing option that Martian features formed biotic activity. ”
Scientists caution literally supported applause and other astrobiologists. “Well, they did not raise a false alarm and did not speculate about” Life on Mars “, admitting they do not know for sure what is the origin of these channels,” – said Louise Preston UK.
“This is not a smoking gun – said White. – We can never exclude the possibility of terrestrial contamination. But these features are nevertheless interesting and show that the need to continue further study of meteorites. ”
Mindful of the controversial ALH84001 in 1996, many researchers react aggressively to any studies that appear in the course of studying the question of life on Mars and other planets, and skepticism is often too high. Therefore, until we can find and analyze the DNA of extraterrestrial origin, or find pristine samples on Mars, the issue will be served as “exciting, but not conclusively proven.”
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Tags: Extraterrestrial life , Earth , Meteorites .
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