A METEORITE from Mars has shown signs of life in fossilised bacteria, scientists have claimed.
Experts using advanced imaging techniques say they found microfilaments created by fossilised Martian microbes on the meteorite, officially known at ALH-77005.
De Gruyter The area boxed in yellow on the bottom right of this image was studied and scientists say it shows ‘signs of microbial life’
The study came from Dr Ildiko Gyollai from the Hungarian Academy of Science (HAS) Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences.
His team used optical microscopy and infrared technology to analyse the textures and features of the thin sample of ALH-77005.
The textures and features left behind by organisms are called “biosignatures”.
Researchers also studied the minerals and other material in the stone and conducted isotope tests to check if there were any chemical compounds that are required for sustaining life.
They concluded the microscopic filaments could be evidence of bacteria that survive by eating iron dust.
The study’s authors said in the paper: “Comparing recent results and interpretation with other meteorites, it can be raised, that on these similarities the microbially mediated biosignatures can be proposed microbial mediation by [iron oxidising bacteria] on Mars.”
SIGNS OF LIFE
However, it is not the first time this revelation has been claimed.
In 1996, Nasa said it found similar signs of life on a different space rock that landed on Earth 13,000 years ago and was produced by Mars at least four billion years ago.
At the time, then-US President Bill Clinton supported scientists to continue their research saying it could offer the “most stunning insights” into the universe.
He said: “Today, rock 84001 speaks to us across all those billions of years and millions of miles.
“It speaks of the possibility of life. If this discovery is confirmed, it will surely be one of the most stunning insights into our universe that science has ever uncovered.
“Its implications are as far-reaching and awe-inspiring as can be imagined. Even as it promises answers to some of our oldest questions, it poses still others even more fundamental.”
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However, it was claimed it would be impossible to prove if the “biosignatures” were not made by non-biological processes.
The rock that is part of the most recent study was discovered in Antarctica during the Japanese National Institute of Polar Research on the 1977-1978 mission.
The latest study can be read here.
De Gruyter Scientists say the meteorite has ‘biosignatures’ which are the textures and features left behind by organisms
De Gruyter The black and white arrows on the microscopic filaments could be evidence of bacteria that survive by eating iron dust
De Gruyter Researchers studied a thin sample of the meteorite called ALH-77005 as shown with these images
De Gruyter The ‘biosignatures’ are highlighted with the white arrows in this image
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