Life from Mars
Posted by Admin on May 22, 2011
By PAUL SUTHERLAND
Published: 26 Nov 2009
MARTIAN bugs arrived on Earth 13,000 years ago, scientists have discovered.
The microscopic aliens arrived on a meteorite which smashed into the wastes of the Antarctic.
Their fossilised remains have been found in the rock, which was blasted out of Mars 16 million years ago – possibly by an asteroid – as the solar system was forming.
The astonishing news comes after The Sun revealed exclusively in January that Nasa had found signs that Martians were STILL alive on the red planet – and giving off the gas methane.
The meteorite – called Allen Hills 84001 – made headlines in 1996 after fossils were found in it.
Most space boffins reckoned they were bacteria from Earth that contaminated the rock while it lay in the frozen wastes.
But a leaked Nasa report now says there is powerful evidence they originated on Mars.
Dr Emily Baldwin, deputy editor of the UK’s Astronomy Now magazine, told The Sun: “Many scientists argued that what looked like fossils in the meteorite were really caused by the explosive event, such as an asteroid impact, that blasted the rock out of Mars in the first place.
“But the Nasa team is now saying they have proved that they could not have been produced by the blast itself.
“If the features turn out to have an extra-terrestrial, biological origin and were not formed during the 13,000 years the meteorite spent lying on Earth, this will have profound implications for our understanding of how life evolved in the solar system.”
The findings were hailed by Mars expert Prof Colin Pillinger, who was behind Britain’s ill-fated Beagle 2 probe to the planet that was lost on Christmas Day 2003.
Prof Pillinger, of the Open University, said last night: “This is good quality work and more compelling evidence to add to the mix.”
“These guys have been plugging away at this for years.
“It is a very careful study by very reputable people.”
At the heart of the Nasa work, led by Kathie Thomas-Keprta, were carbonate discs and tiny magnetite crystals inside the space rock.
The scientists were able to use high resolution electron microscopes that was not available 13 years ago.
They concluded “unusual chemical and physical properties” in the meteorite were “intimately associated within and throughout these carbonate disks”. That, they said, was evidence of interaction with water on Mars more than 3.5 billion years ago.
Vast oceans may have covered the planet then and it was much more like Earth than the dusty desert it is today.
Nasa is expected to reveal the findings, from its Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas, in a few days.
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