Life on Mars?

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According to NASA, scientists are in agreement that there is no life on Mars. However, they continue to assess whether Mars ever had an environment capable of supporting microbial life. Now, researchers from Hungary have discovered embedded organic material in a Martian meteorite found in the late 1970s. The scientists were able to determine the presence of organic matter in mineralised form such as different forms of bacteria within the meteorite, suggesting that life could have existed on the Red Planet.

Officially named ALH-77005, the Martian meteorite was found in the Allan Hills on Antarctica during the mission of the Japanese National Institute of Polar Research between 1977 and 1978. The new study "Mineralized biosignatures in ALH-77005 Shergottite—Clues to Martian Life?" published in De Gruyter's journal Open Astronomy, by authors Ildiko Gyollai, Márta Polgári and Szaniszló Bérczi proposes the presence of active bacteria on Mars. Their research also suggests that there may have been life on other planets.

"Our work is important to a broad audience because it integrates planetary, earth, biological, chemical, and environmental sciences and will be of interest to many researchers in those fields," explains lead author Ildiko Gyollai from HAS Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences in Budapest. "The research will also be of interest to planetologists, experts of meteorite and astrobiology as well as researchers of the origin of life, and to the general public since it offers an example of a novel aspect of microbial mediation in stone meteorites," Gyollai concludes.

This new research could change the examination of meteorites in the future. In light of their discovery, the authors posit that solar system materials should be studied to establish whether there is evidence of microbial forms within space rocks—and an indication that there was once life on Mars.


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More information: Ildikó Gyollai et al, Mineralized biosignatures in ALH-77005 Shergottite - Clues to Martian Life?, Open Astronomy (2019). DOI: 10.1515/astro-2019-0002
Provided by De Gruyter
Citation: Life on Mars? (2019, April 4) retrieved 18 April 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-life-mars.html
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Apr 04, 2019
According to NASA, scientists are in agreement that there is no life on Mars.


Nobody has reached any definitive conclusions like this yet and won't until Mars is thoroughly explored with the right equipment. While there appears to be no life on the surface, bacterial life deep under the surface with access to liquid water is a completely different story. My personal guess is that it is more likely that subsurface bacteria exist on Mars than not.

This article probably should have mentioned that this is not the first time hints of life were found in a Martian meteorite. Remember Allan Hills 84001?

https://en.wikipe...ls_84001

Apr 04, 2019
"One Swallow, does not,
a Summer make."

Apr 06, 2019
Seems they take a number of mostly Hungarian meteorites and abstract putative "biosignatures" such as strong negative delta13, never mind that their own data point to abiotic confusions in SNC meteorites et cetera. And then make the unsubstantiated jump to proclaim that data the result of "microbial mediation".

As far as I know the general existence of confusions have made (prokaryote etched) pores in volcanic glass - who has no known geological confusion - the only unarguably accepted microscale trace fossil to date. These finds, however enticing, are likely not sufficient.

Apr 06, 2019
According to NASA, scientists are in agreement that there is no life on Mars.


Nobody has reached any definitive conclusions like this yet and won't until Mars is thoroughly explored with the right equipment. ... This article probably should have mentioned that this is not the first time hints of life were found in a Martian meteorite. Remember Allan Hills 84001?


The latter proclaimed "biosignatures" (now agreed on both insufficient and erroneous such) caused the NASA statement. But note that there is a difference between the current tentative consensus and "definitive conclusions" - which means you are correct. They are also (more or less on purpose, to lower expectations from public and fringe and crackpots) conflating surface ("on") life with possible crust biota. (But at least the article note that it is the martian history we should look at.)

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