Accueil > Publications > Recherche par années > Années 2000 > 2001

Gibson, EK ; McKay, DS ; Thomas-Keprta, KL ; Wentworth, SJ ; Westall, F ; Steele, A ; Romanek, CS ; Bell, MS ; Toporski, J

Life on Mars : evaluation of the evidence within Martian meteorites ALH84001, Nakhla, and Shergotty

Precambrian Research 106 (1-2) 15-34

par Administrateur - publié le

Abstract :

Analyses both support and are in opposition to the hypothesis that the Martian meteorite ALH84001 contains evidence for possible biogenic activity on Mars. New observations in two additional Martian meteorites, Nakhla (1.3 Ga old) and Shergotty (300-165 Ma old) indicate possible biogenic features. Features in the three Martian meteorites compare favorably with the accepted criteria for terrestrial microfossils and evidence for early life on the Earth. There is strong evidence for the presence of indigenous reduced carbon, biogenic magnetite, and the low-temperature formation of carbonate globules. The morphological similarities between terrestrial microfossils, biofilms, and the features found in the three Martian meteorites are intriguing but have not been conclusively proven. Every investigation must recognize the possibility of terrestrial contamination of the meteorites, whether or not the meteorites are Martian. The search for evidence of ancient life in Martian meteorites has emphasized the difficulties confronting the scientific community with the respect to the positive identification of evidence of past biogenic activity. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.