Life on MARS: Historic BREAKTHROUGH after fossilised bacteria found from Red Planet
Experts say they have found microfilaments created by fossilised Martian microbes on the meteorite, known as ALH-77005, after using advanced imaging techniques. Dr Ildiko Gyollai and his team from the Hungarian Academy of Science (HAS) Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences used optical microscopy and infrared technology to study the textures and features of the thin sample of ALH-77005. The textures and features left behind by organisms are called “biosignatures”.
They also analysed the minerals in the stone and undertook isotope tests to find out if there were any chemical compounds required for sustaining life.
The rock they had been looking at was discovered in Antarctica by the Japanese National Institute of Polar Research on a mission from 1977-78.
The researchers concluded the microscopic filaments could be evidence of bacteria that survive by eating iron dust.
The study’s authors said in the paper: “Comparing recent results and interpretation with other meteorites, it can be raised, that on these similarities the microbially mediated biosignatures can be proposed microbial mediation by iron oxidising bacteria on Mars.”
But this is just the latest in a series of revelations made about the possibility of life on Mars.
In 1996, NASA made similar findings on a different space rock that crash into the Earth 13,000 years ago which had been produced by the Red Planet four billion years earlier.
Bill Clinton, who was US President at the time, backed scientists in continuing their research, claiming it could offer the “most stunning insights” into the universe.
He said: “Today, rock 84001 speaks to us across all those billions of years and millions of miles.
“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. Even as it promises answers to some of our oldest questions, it poses still others even more fundamental.”
But hopes the discovery could signal a scientific breakthrough were dashed when it was claimed it would be impossible to prove the “biosignatures” were not made by non-biological processes.
NASA’s Curiosity rover is currently digging into the Red Planet to collect samples of Martian clay, which scientists believe formed in the presence of water.
The space agency has confirmed Curiosity retrieved samples of bedrock material from a rock dubbed Aberlady on April 6.
The rover then delivered the soil samples to its onboard laboratory equipment on April 10 and scientists are waiting for the analysis results with bated breath.
Water is one of the most fundamental building blocks of life by human standards and is key to discovering alien life in other parts of the cosmos.
Scientists have long suspected Mars once hosted a lush and wet atmosphere with a landscape not too different from that of Earth’s.
But now the planet is an inhospitable desert with a paper-thin atmosphere blasted by intense solar radiation.
The only signs of water present on Mars have been found in the form of ice caps around the freezing south pole.
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