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Proof of us not being alone is closer than ever


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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/space/article6934078.ece

 

Evidence of life on Mars lurks beneath surface of meteorite, Nasa experts claim

 

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00651/Mars_651542a.jpg

 

Nasa scientists have produced the most compelling evidence yet that bacterial life exists on Mars.

 

It showed that microscopic worm-like structures found in a Martian meteorite that hit the Earth 13,000 years ago are almost certainly fossilised bacteria. The so-called bio-morphs are embedded beneath the surface layers of the rock, suggesting that they were already present when the meteorite arrived, rather than being the result of subsequent contamination by Earthly bacteria.

 

“This is very strong evidence of life on Mars,” said David Mackay, a senior scientist at the Nasa Johnson Space Centre , who was part of the team of scientists that originally investigated the meteorite when it was discovered in 1984.

 

In a 1996 study of the sample, Dr Mackay and others argued that the microfossils were evidence of life, but sceptics dismissed the claims, saying that similar-shaped structures might not be biological. The new analyses, the product of high resolution electron microscopy, make a strong case for the Allan Hills 84001 Meteorite having carried Martian life to Earth. The microscopes were focused on tiny magnetite crystals present in the surface layers of the meteorite, which have the form of simple bacteria. Some argued that these could be the result of a carbonate breaking down in the heat of the impact.

 

The new analyses show that this is very unlikely to have resulted in the kinds of structures seen in the rock. Close examination suggested that about 25 per cent of the crystal structures were chemically consistent with being formed from bacteria.

 

“We feel vindicated. We’ve shown the alternate explanation is absolutely incorrect, leading us back to our original position that these structures are formed by bacteria on Mars,” Dr Mackay said.

 

Dennis Bazylinski, an astrobiologist from the University of Nevada who peer-reviewed the findings, said: “Until now I was on the fence but this paper has really thrown out the non-biological explanation.” However, he added that the study was not a “smoking gun” for life on Mars. “One meteorite is never going to answer such a complex question,” he said.

 

According to scientists, the meteorite was broken off the surface of Mars by the impact of an asteroid, and reached Earth after floating through space for about 16 million years. It landed in Allan Hills in Antarctica. Scientists were able to trace the meteorite back to Mars, as its chemical composition matched the relative proportions of various gases measured in observations of the atmosphere of Mars made by the Viking spacecraft in the 1970s.

 

The meteorite also preserves evidence of liquid water on Mars, suggesting that the planet may have had more suitable conditions for life to develop in the past. The investigation was published in the November issue of Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, the journal of the Geochemical and Meteoritic Society. Nasa is expected to announce the findings formally on Monday.

 

The team has also been studying two other Martian meteorites — Nakhla, which landed in Egypt in 1911, and Yamato 593, which was found by a Japanese expedition to Antarctica. In research due to be published shortly, the scientists claim that both of these fossils also show evidence of microbial life.

 

Bill Clinton, then the US President, said of the research in 1997: “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.”

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It answers nowt, tbh. One crappy meteorite with holes in it?

 

It answers nowt, yet.

 

It's still, if this is actually true and not the times just spouting nonsense about, the closest we'd have been to proof of life on another planet. Which would be massive.

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It answers nowt, tbh. One crappy meteorite with holes in it?

 

It answers nowt, yet.

 

It's still, if this is actually true and not the times just spouting nonsense about, the closest we'd have been to proof of life on another planet. Which would be massive.

 

I hope it's true, but for the non-science-superbrains around, like myself, it's a bit... unimpressive.

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It answers nowt, tbh. One crappy meteorite with holes in it?

 

It answers nowt, yet.

 

It's still, if this is actually true and not the times just spouting nonsense about, the closest we'd have been to proof of life on another planet. Which would be massive.

 

I hope it's true, but for the non-science-superbrains around, like myself, it's a bit... unimpressive.

 

That's the thing. I'm basically going to be unimpressed and disappointed when other life is discovered and it's a few fucking germs or something. Until we've found some sort of animal capable of forging a terrible war I will consider 'other' life undiscovered.

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We need/want to spend a shitload of money.

 

Tidied that up for them.

 

Not that I disagree with space exploration per se.

 

Money that could definately be better spent.

 

 

it should be given to footballers before its spent on science.

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You can never spend too much on space exploration imo. The possibilities of what is out there are endless, we could spend money on shit things like war etc or we could actually spend it on worthwhile things like seeing how the universe came to be, if there is life elseware, if there are other planets we could colonise and trying to get there etc.

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Space exploration should be prioritized over buying food for poor Africans. If we find a new supercrop in space that can survive in hot conditions and therefore solves the hunger crisis in Africa etc, it proves to be money well spent. However, spending that money on rice etc is just a quick fix and offers no long-term solution to the problem.

 

Discuss.

 

 

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Space exploration should be prioritized over buying food for poor Africans. If we find a new supercrop in space that can survive in hot conditions and therefore solves the hunger crisis in Africa etc, it proves to be money well spent. However, spending that money on rice etc is just a quick fix and offers no long-term solution to the problem.

 

Discuss.

 

Quick fix > no fix.

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Guest Stephen927

NASA is a complete waste of money. Pour all that money into giving our troops proper equipment, then when we win the war on terror, seize the weapons of mass production, then, and only then, we'll go chasing after little green men.

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NASA is a complete waste of money. Pour all that money into giving our troops proper equipment, then when we win the war on terror, seize the weapons of mass production, then, and only then, we'll go chasing after little green men.

 

 

leave the irish alone, just cos they cant accept getting knocked out of the world cup by a cheating french person, no need to start conflict in Ireland again.

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NASA is a complete waste of money. Pour all that money into giving our troops proper equipment, then when we win the war on terror, seize the weapons of mass production, then, and only then, we'll go chasing after little green men.

 

Weapons of mass production?  Is Mike Ashley supplying them through Weapons Direct??

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Guest Stephen927

Anybody who thinks space exploration is a good idea, go watch the Alien movies then come back and tell me you wanna go sticking your nose in their business.

 

They're just out there, waiting in their little fucking eggs for a human host.

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