(ORDO NEWS) — A four-billion-year-old meteorite from Mars contains no evidence of ancient Martian life, scientists say.
Earlier, a team of scientists led by NASA announced that organic compounds in a space rock found in Antarctica were most likely left behind by living beings.
Now, however, another group of scientists is convinced that the Martian meteorite contains no signs of life. The results of the corresponding study were published in the journal Science.
A two-kilogram stone was found in 1984 in Antarctica. The meteorite, designated ALH84001, is currently in a laboratory chamber at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
A team of scientists led by Andrew Steele of the Carnegie Institution of Science has denied evidence of life on a piece from Mars.
“Tiny meteorite samples have shown that the carbon-rich compounds are actually the result of salt water flowing over the rock for an extended period,” Professor Steele said.
Millions of years ago, two impacts occurred on the Red Planet near a rock, and a third impact threw a rock fragment into space.
According to the researchers, groundwater flowing through cracks in the rock formed tiny globules of carbon that have survived to this day.
However, the two scientists who took part in the first study disagreed with the latest findings, calling them “disappointing.” In the letter, they stated that they stick to their observations made in 1996.
“While the data presented is gradually adding to our knowledge, the interpretation is unlikely to be new and not supported by research,” NASA researchers Cathy Thomas-Keprta and Simon Clemett wrote.
According to Professor Steele, advances in technology have made his team’s new discoveries possible. He said his team, which includes scientists from NASA, Germany and the UK, made sure to present their results “as they are.”
Professor Steele believes that the only way to prove the existence of ancient life on Mars is to bring samples back to Earth for analysis.
Currently, NASA’s Perseverance rover has already collected six samples for delivery to Earth in about a decade. It remains only to wait for their arrival on Earth and carefully study.
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