NUFOIA: Scientists Claim To Have Fossil Of Martian Life
Subject: NUFOIA: Scientists Claim To Have Fossil Of Martian Life
Date: vrijdag, 2. april 1999 8:05
Are We Alone In The Universe?
Scientists Claim To Have Fossil Of Martian Life
Researchers: Final Answer Within A Year
Two Martian Meteorites Are Basis Of Study
Some scientists believe these features of Martian meteorites resemble Earth
CBS Some NASA scientists believe they are studying a fossil of life from
Mars, reports Nancy Holland of CBS affiliate KHOU in Houston.
A pair of Martian meteorites contain features that resemble Earth bacteria,
according to the same NASA researchers who three years ago claimed they had
evidence of �primitive life on early Mars.�
The findings, made within the past six months, were from samples of a 1.3
billion-year-old meteorite that fell to Earth in 1911 near Nakhla, Egypt
a 165 million-year-old meteorite that fell near Shergotty, India in 1865.
�They have the same composition as fossil bacteria on Earth,� said NASA
scientist David McKay.
The bacteria-like substance is so tiny, it would take a hundred of them to
equal the width
of a human hair. But for McKay, they�re huge.
�We're not counting on getting many converts,� McKay said. �All we ask,
though, is that people keep an open mind.�
After McKay saw the bacteria-like features, he got a piece of the meteorite
last year, looked inside, and is convinced it shows there was, at least at
one time, life on Mars.
Back in 1997, McKay, 62, published similar findings and was almost
immediately criticized by other scientists.
He says he was not deterred.
�We�re gonna get beat up again. That�s okay,� McKay said.
McKay was one of the researchers who in August 1996 announced the discovery
of tiny fossilized structures in crevices of a 4 billion-year-old Mars
meteorite found in the Antarctic.
The meteorite was recovered in 1984.
McKay said some of the Nakhla features resembled Earth bacteria in a
He also referred to the remains of what could have been a slimy �biofilm�
useful in snaring mineral nutrients.
He challenges doubting scientists to get their own piece of the rock and go
McKay and the other scientists presenting their findings believe they can
have a final answer about whether this is fossilized life within a year,
using earthbound technology.
�If this proves out, we will have shown that life spanned almost the entire
history of Mars, and presumably today,� McKay said. �Nothing has happened
the last 165 million years that would kill off life on Mars."
But an even better chance may come early next century, when a robotic
brings back real Martian samples.
Then there may be more of an answer as to whether the universe could be
filled with life, or if Earth is unique and we are very much alone.
�That is why (this analysis) is so important,� McKay said. �If what we see
borne out as signs of life, that pretty well predicts we will find life
we go there.�
�If what we see is borne out as signs of life, that pretty well predicts we
will find life when we go there.�
David McKay, NASA scientist
Copyright 1999 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may
be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press
contributed to this report.
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