Navigation Links
Relic of life in that Martian meteorite? A fresh look

Since the mid-1990s a great debate has raged over whether organic compounds and tiny globules of carbonate minerals imbedded in the Martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001 were processed by living creatures from the Red Planet.

The materials have been under intense scrutiny ever since. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory, with colleagues,1 have taken a fresh look at how material associated with carbonate globules was created using sophisticated instrumentation and they compared the results to analogous globules from a volcanic complex on Svalbard, an island north of Norway. It does not appear that living organisms were at work. The research is presented at NASA's Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) 2006 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. March 26-30. See for details.

To some, the tiny carbonate globules from the meteorite seem to resemble minerals that arise from microbial activity on Earth. The team focused on whether macromolecular carbon (MMC) in and around the globules was processed organically or not--an unresolved issue. The team had a complete depth profile of the meteorite. Lead author Andrew Steele explained, "By using micro-Raman spectroscopy and a scanning electron microscope we could detect both the structure of the minerals and the forms of carbon present. We did a similar analysis on carbonate globules from Earth in terrain analogous to Mars--the Bockjord Volcanic Complex on Svalbard--for comparison."

The researchers found that the macromolecular carbon is always associated with the mineral magnetite. This association is important because magnetite is known to act as a catalyst in the formation of MMC. Macromolecular carbon present within the carbonate globules in ALH84001 may represent the first evidence of non-biological synthesis of organic molecules on Mars.

"Although we haven't settled the debate on whether evidence of life is contained in Allan Hills, we have shown that these carbon complexes likely formed by non-biological processing on Mars," concluded Steele.


Source:Carnegie Institution

Related biology news :

1. Dig deeper to find Martian life
2. Aloe vera coating may prolong freshness, safety of fruits and vegetables
3. New research puts a fresh spin on current thinking of speech evolution in humans
4. Chemical in many air fresheners may reduce lung function
5. Many cleaners, air fresheners may pose health risks when used indoors
6. Ghost protein leaves fresh tracks in the cell
7. Pharmaceutical compounds found in nations fresh water
8. LSD treatment for alcoholism gets new look
Post Your Comments:

(Date:9/30/2015)... , Sept. 30, 2015  With nearly 300,000 ... number of new SCIs estimated to reach 12,500 annually, ... Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living (SCRS-IL) ... in California opening doors to ... of programs and services, notably assistive technology services and ...
(Date:9/29/2015)... SUNNYVALE, Calif. , Sept. 29, 2015 ... technology improves employee productivity while also saving energy ... features such as Low Power Active Mode and embedded ... workplace transformation Fujitsu today shows that ... of new and refreshed models to its enterprise desktop ...
(Date:9/28/2015)... 2015  The monitoring of vital signs, such ... is an essential component of patient assessment. Changes ... in a patient,s condition. However, in general care ... taken during routine observation rounds only once every ... between these observation rounds, the warning signs can ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2015)... ... 09, 2015 , ... From blood to food to medicine, ... from their surroundings for research, diagnostics, and cell therapy—also known as cell sorting—can ... Arbor-based startup Akadeum Life Sciences is developing a radically new product ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... 8, 2015   Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: ... the appointment of Joseph L. Vaillancourt as ... Nir Nimrodi who continues in his role as ... endeavors to generate sustainable, biologically based solutions to environmental ... he held a variety of key roles including, Vice ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... 8, 2015  ATCC, the premier global biological materials ... been selected by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for ... academic, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology organizations committed to speed a ... United States , and more than 5 million ... United States , and more than 5 million ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... 8, 2015 . ... --> Goldman Small Cap Research, a stock ... and microcap sectors, announced today that it has ... Biotech, Inc. (OTCQB - PMCB), a publicly traded, ... preparing treatments for cancer and diabetes. To view ...
Breaking Biology Technology: