International Journal of Mars Research | ISSN 2453-8760 | Current Issue: 7 Volume 4

NASA scientists find evidence of water in meteorite, reviving debate over life on Mars

Volume 1, Issue 2

A team of scientists has found evidence of past water movement throughout a Martian meteorite, reviving debate in the scientific community over life on Mars. In 1996, a group of scientists reported biogenic evidence in the Allan Hills 84001(ALH84001) meteorite. In this new study, researchers focused on structures deep within a 30-pound (13.7-kilogram) Martian meteorite known as Yamato 000593 (Y000593). The team reports that newly discovered different structures and compositional features within the larger Yamato meteorite suggest biological processes might have been at work on Mars hundreds of millions of years ago.

The team’s findings have been published in the February issue of the journal Astrobiology. The lead author, Lauren White, is based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Co-authors are Gibson, Thomas-Keprta, Simon Clemett and McKay, all based at Johnson. McKay, who led the team that studied the ALH84001 meteorite, died a year ago.

This scanning electron microscope image of a polished thin section of a meteorite from Mars shows tunnels and curved microtunnels.

This scanning electron microscope image of a polished thin section of a meteorite from Mars shows tunnels and curved microtunnels.

Analyses found that the rock was formed about 1.3 billion years ago from a lava flow on Mars. Around 12 million years ago, an impact occurred on Mars which ejected the meteorite from the surface of Mars. The meteorite traveled through space until it fell in Antarctica about 50,000 years ago.

References:

  • NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “NASA scientists find evidence of water in meteorite, reviving debate over life on Mars.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140228103206.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).
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