Scientists have recently discovered evidence of life on planet Mars. The evidence was found in a Martian meteorite discovered in the 1970s.
The study called "Mineralized biosignatures in ALH-77005 Shergottite - Clues to Martian Life?" is led by author Ildiko Gyollai from HAS Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences in Budapest. His co-authors are Szaniszló Bérczi and Márta Polgári.
The study is published in De Gruyter's journal Open Astronomy.
Life On Other Planets
The Hungarian scientists studied the Martian meteorite ALH-77005, a meteorite found in the Allan Hills in Antarctica in 1977.
The meteorite was classified as a shergottite meteorite, just like more than half of other Martian meteorites found on Earth. The name was based on the Shergotty meteorite, a meteorite found on the planes of Sherghati, India in 1865.
They took a very thin sample from the meteorite. By utilizing microscopy for microtextures called microscopic texture patterns and FTIR-ATR microscopy, they were able to discover some possible biosignatures. These are the results of the microbes' alteration of the minerals in the rock and their mineralized remains. The results suggest a likely presence of organic matter in the Red Planet.
"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," said Gyollaii.
"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."
Not The First Time
Although the study is highly interesting, it isn't the first time scientists have discovered evidence of life on Mars. A team of scientists led by David S. McKay in 1996 had previously discovered bacteria-like microbial fossils in another Martian meteorite called ALH-84001 found on Allan Hills. It garnered a lot of attention at the time, with then-President Clinton even making a speech about the discovery.
However, the study was disproved by other scientists, stating that there are also possible non-organic explanations found for the formation of the microscopic rod-like features. Still, these curious mineral formations are still included in the list of evidence of ancient life on Mars.